Cheesecake Factory Inc (CAKE) Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Cheesecake Factory Inc (NASDAQ:CAKE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Monday, May 8th.

According to Zacks, “Cheesecake Factory’s Q1 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.72 fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.4% but rose 5.9% year over year on higher revenues and a lower share count. Sales of $563.4 million also failed to beat the consensus mark by 0.4% but were up 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. Notably, a lowered fiscal 2017 outlook due to prevailing challenging restaurant environment calls for caution. Meanwhile, higher labor and pre-openings costs coupled with expenses related to sales initiatives are likely to pressurize profits in the near term. Cheesecake Factory’s shares have underperformed the Zacks classified Retail–Restaurants industry over the past three months. Even so, various initiatives to boost sales like menu innovation, roll-out of an improved server training program, launch of mobile payment app and focus on delivery bode well. Still, continual underperformance by Grand Lux Cafe adds to the concerns.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $54.00 target price on shares of Cheesecake Factory in a report on Friday, February 10th. Maxim Group reissued a hold rating and issued a $65.00 price objective (up from $59.00) on shares of Cheesecake Factory in a report on Monday, May 1st. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a sell rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Cheesecake Factory in a report on Thursday, February 23rd. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group upped their target price on Cheesecake Factory from $61.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, February 23rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $58.78.

Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.72 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $563.43 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $565.42 million. Cheesecake Factory had a net margin of 6.11% and a return on equity of 22.76%.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 30th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, May 17th will be given a dividend of $0.24 per share. This represents a $0.96 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.63%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, May 15th. Cheesecake Factory’s payout ratio is 35.56%.

In other Cheesecake Factory news, insider Cheryl Slomann sold 3,444 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.64, for a total transaction of $212,288.16. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 15,538 shares in the company, valued at $957,762.32. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Doug Benn sold 16,901 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.02, for a total transaction of $1,082,002.02. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 70,261 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,498,109.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 64,054 shares of company stock worth $4,015,740 over the last three months. Company insiders own 8.50% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Cheesecake Factory by 21,381.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,842,308 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $306,812,000 after buying an additional 4,819,766 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Cheesecake Factory by 445.8% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 545,840 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $34,584,000 after buying an additional 445,840 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Cheesecake Factory during the fourth quarter valued at $23,189,000. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Cheesecake Factory by 52.2% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,125,972 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $71,342,000 after buying an additional 386,165 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Scout Investments Inc. boosted its stake in Cheesecake Factory by 631.9% in the third quarter. Scout Investments Inc. now owns 366,846 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $18,364,000 after buying an additional 316,721 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 95.52% of the company’s stock.

About Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated is engaged in the restaurant and bakery business. As of March 2, 2017, the Company operated 208 Company-owned restaurants: 194 under The Cheesecake Factory mark, 13 under the Grand Lux Cafe mark and one under the Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen mark. The Company’s segments include The Cheesecake Factory restaurants, and other.

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