Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $35.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock.

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. However, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in eight of the trailing ten quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. Further, 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. Nevertheless, various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives are likely to aid the stock in driving growth, going ahead. Meanwhile, estimates have been stable ahead of the company's fiscal first-quarter 2018 earnings release.”

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reissued a market perform rating on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Monday, July 24th. Barclays PLC reduced their target price on Brinker International from $47.00 to $44.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a report on Thursday, June 15th. BMO Capital Markets raised Brinker International from an underperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $40.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus started coverage on Brinker International in a report on Monday, October 2nd. They issued a hold rating and a $36.00 target price for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. Brinker International currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $41.46.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) opened at 31.03 on Friday. Brinker International has a 1-year low of $29.50 and a 1-year high of $55.84. The company has a market capitalization of $1.50 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.55 and a beta of 0.26. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $31.74 and a 200-day moving average price of $37.46.

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

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: “Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research” was originally published by The Cerbat Gem and is the property of of The Cerbat Gem. If you are reading this piece on another site, it was copied illegally and republished in violation of U.S. and international copyright laws. The correct version of this piece can be read at https://www.thecerbatgem.com/2017/10/17/brinker-international-inc-eat-raised-to-buy-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

Brinker International declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, August 10th that permits the company to buyback $250.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the restaurant operator to purchase up to 14.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were issued a dividend of $0.38 per share. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.90%. This is a positive change from Brinker International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.34. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio is 50.84%.

In related news, Director Michael A. George purchased 16,450 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 6th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $30.31 per share, with a total value of $498,599.50. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 49,952 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,514,045.12. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 1.91% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of EAT. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 10,393.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,975,272 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $174,753,000 after acquiring an additional 3,937,390 shares during the period. Marshall Wace North America L.P. bought a new position in shares of Brinker International in the second quarter worth $42,664,000. Balyasny Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 3,244.4% in 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 during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Brinker International by 15.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,544,617 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $243,741,000 after acquiring an additional 738,302 shares during the period. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new position in shares of Brinker International in the second quarter worth $533,000.

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Brinker International (EAT)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Brinker International (NYSE:EAT)

Receive News & Stock Ratings for Brinker International Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Brinker International Inc. and related stocks with our FREE daily email newsletter.