Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday. The brokerage presently has a $42.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 11.76% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Brinker’s aggressive expansion strategies and sales building initiatives like streamlining of menu and innovation value offerings along with its loyalty program should boost comps. Increased focus on company-owned restaurants, which allows it to have full control over operations, is also expected to boost the bottom as well as the top line. Also, various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives are likely to drive growth. Brinker’s shares have outperformed the industry in the past three months. Estimates for 2018 has also gone up over the past 60 days.  However, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in nine of the trailing 11 quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. Also,  higher labor as well as costs related to various initiatives might continue to hurt margins, while overall choppiness in the restaurant space might keep on pressurizing comps in the coming quarters.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on EAT. Telsey Advisory Group decreased their target price on Brinker International from $40.00 to $37.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, September 19th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $40.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Sunday, October 1st. Stifel Nicolaus began coverage on Brinker International in a report on Monday, October 2nd. They issued a “hold” rating and a $36.00 price target on the stock. Stephens cut their price target on Brinker International from $40.00 to $34.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Finally, Barclays cut their price target on Brinker International from $41.00 to $38.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $41.08.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) opened at $37.58 on Friday. Brinker International has a 52 week low of $29.50 and a 52 week high of $48.02. The company has a quick ratio of 0.28, a current ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -2.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,740.00, a PE ratio of 13.57, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.23 and a beta of 0.24.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The restaurant operator reported $0.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.43 by ($0.01). Brinker International had a net margin of 4.39% and a negative return on equity of 30.36%. The business had revenue of $739.40 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $749.05 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.49 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Brinker International will post 3.26 EPS for the current year.

In related news, insider Wyman Roberts sold 33,683 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.88, for a total transaction of $1,275,912.04. Following the sale, the insider now owns 137,572 shares in the company, valued at $5,211,227.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Charles A. Lousignont sold 3,364 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.00, for a total value of $111,012.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 15,074 shares in the company, valued at approximately $497,442. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.91% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in EAT. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Brinker International by 27.8% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,080,271 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $193,557,000 after acquiring an additional 1,104,999 shares in the last quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in Brinker International by 3,244.4% during the second quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC now owns 899,246 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $34,261,000 after acquiring an additional 872,358 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its holdings in Brinker International by 16.4% during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 5,154,891 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $168,822,000 after acquiring an additional 726,427 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in Brinker International by 97.9% during the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 1,303,134 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $41,518,000 after acquiring an additional 644,700 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new stake in Brinker International during the second quarter worth about $533,000.

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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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