Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Brinker’s shares have underperformed the industry year to date. Notably, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in eight of the trailing ten quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. The company’s presence in energy-exposed markets, where the economy is currently sluggish due to the persistent decline in oil prices, may continue to hurt traffic. Nevertheless, the company’s aggressive expansion strategies, sales building initiatives should boost comps. Also, various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives are expected to drive growth. Yet, higher labor and costs related to initiatives might continue to hurt margins in the near term. Additionally, a slowdown in some of the international markets that the company operates in and overall choppiness in the restaurant space might also keep on pressurizing comps in the coming quarters.”

Several other brokerages also recently commented on EAT. Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Thursday, June 15th. J P Morgan Chase & Co downgraded shares of Brinker International from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $48.00 to $44.00 in a research note on Thursday, June 15th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an equal weight rating and issued a $47.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. BMO Capital Markets raised shares of Brinker International from an underperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $40.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group decreased their target price on shares of Brinker International from $49.00 to $40.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $42.00.

Brinker International (NYSE EAT) traded down 1.17% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $31.21. 160,428 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $31.78 and a 200-day moving average of $37.62. Brinker International has a 12 month low of $29.50 and a 12 month high of $55.84. The stock has a market cap of $1.51 billion, a PE ratio of 10.62 and a beta of 0.26.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, August 10th. The restaurant operator reported $1.09 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.04 by $0.05. Brinker International had a net margin of 4.79% and a negative return on equity of 31.46%. The company had revenue of $810.66 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $809.94 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.24 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Brinker International will post $3.23 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 28th. Investors of record on Friday, September 8th were issued a $0.38 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.81%. This is a boost from Brinker International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.34. Brinker International’s payout ratio is 50.84%.

Brinker International announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, August 10th that authorizes the company to repurchase $250.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to buy up to 14.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, Director Michael A. George purchased 16,450 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 6th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $30.31 per share, for a total transaction of $498,599.50. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 49,952 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,514,045.12. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders own 1.91% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bruderman Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Brinker International during the 2nd quarter valued at $123,000. LS Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 14.2% during the 2nd quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 4,689 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $179,000 after buying an additional 582 shares in the last quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 0.4% during the 1st quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC now owns 4,864 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $214,000 after buying an additional 17 shares in the last quarter. ING Groep NV bought a new stake in shares of Brinker International during the 2nd quarter valued at $227,000. Finally, Profund Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 0.8% during the 2nd quarter. Profund Advisors LLC now owns 6,849 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $261,000 after buying an additional 57 shares in the last quarter.

Brinker International Company Profile

Brinker International, Inc is engaged in the ownership, operation, development, and franchising of the Chili’s Grill & Bar (Chili’s) and Maggiano’s Little Italy (Maggiano’s) restaurant brands. The Company’s Chili’s operates Bar & Grill category of casual dining. Chili’s menu features authentic Fresh Mex and Fresh Tex cuisine, including signature items, such as Baby Back Ribs smoked in-house, Hand-Crafted Burgers served with house-made garlic dill pickles, Mix and Match Fajitas, Tableside Guacamole and house-made Chips and Salsa.

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Analyst Recommendations for Brinker International (NYSE:EAT)

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