Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Brinker International Inc. (NYSE:EAT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Brinker International’s aggressive expansion strategies and sales building initiatives, like menu innovation, promotional offerings along with introduction of loyalty program, should boost comps. Additionally, Brinker’s increased focus on company-owned restaurants, which allows it to have full control over operations, is likely to enhance the bottom as well as the top line. Various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives undertaken by the company should further drive growth. Moreover, the company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Estimates too have been mostly going up ahead of the company’s first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings release. However, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in five of the trailing six quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. Further, higher costs and slow growth at international markets remain a cause of concern.”

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on EAT. Argus reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Thursday, August 18th. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a sector perform rating and set a $55.00 price target (up from $49.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research report on Saturday, August 13th. Canaccord Genuity assumed coverage on Brinker International in a research report on Monday, August 22nd. They set a hold rating and a $56.00 price target for the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of Brinker International in a research report on Thursday, September 1st. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada boosted their price target on Brinker International from $49.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research report on Friday, August 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $53.93.

Analyst Recommendations for Brinker International (NYSE:EAT)

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) traded up 1.09% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $50.81. The stock had a trading volume of 157,286 shares. Brinker International has a one year low of $43.20 and a one year high of $55.16. The company has a market cap of $2.79 billion, a PE ratio of 14.86 and a beta of 0.26. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $52.13 and its 200 day moving average price is $47.97.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 11th. The company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.23 by $0.01. The business earned $881.70 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $881.43 million. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 114.14% and a net margin of 6.16%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 15.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.94 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Brinker International will post $3.47 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 9th were issued a $0.34 dividend. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.71%. This is a boost from Brinker International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, September 7th. Brinker International’s payout ratio is 39.42%.

In other news, insider Krista M. Gibson sold 19,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.27, for a total value of $1,012,130.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,225 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,982,975.75. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Wyman Roberts sold 41,722 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.00, for a total value of $2,211,266.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 114,746 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,081,538. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.76% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in EAT. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in shares of Brinker International by 19.9% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 6,023,056 shares of the company’s stock worth $276,759,000 after buying an additional 1,001,600 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in shares of Brinker International by 2,103.1% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 974,070 shares of the company’s stock worth $44,349,000 after buying an additional 929,857 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Brinker International during the second quarter worth approximately $34,466,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Brinker International by 73.4% in the second quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,291,523 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,803,000 after buying an additional 546,497 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital Research Global Investors increased its stake in shares of Brinker International by 35.0% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 2,007,500 shares of the company’s stock worth $91,401,000 after buying an additional 520,000 shares in the last quarter.

About Brinker International

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:EAT

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