Zacks Investment Research Lowers BJ's Restaurants (BJRI) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ:BJRI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “High costs related to sales boosting initiatives are keeping BJ's Restaurants margins under pressure. Also, the company has planned to slow down on unit openings in 2017, to focus more on traffic and sales building initiatives. These could weigh on top-line growth.  However, sales building initiatives should drive top-line growth, going forward. Additionally, a deep pipeline of new menu items, loyalty program enhancements and other productivity and digital initiatives are likely to further drive performance. Increased focus on improving its execution and enhancing guest satisfaction also bode well. Further, its shares have underperformed the industry so far, this year. Earnings estimates for the current-quarter and year have been stable over the past 60 days.”

BJRI has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Wells Fargo & Co lowered their target price on BJ's Restaurants from $35.00 to $30.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and set a $39.00 price target on shares of BJ's Restaurants in a research report on Thursday, August 31st. Stifel Nicolaus assumed coverage on BJ's Restaurants in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. They set a hold rating and a $32.00 price target on the stock. Barclays lowered their price target on BJ's Restaurants from $29.00 to $27.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating and set a $42.00 price target on shares of BJ's Restaurants in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. BJ's Restaurants has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $36.89.

Shares of BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ:BJRI) opened at $36.40 on Friday. BJ's Restaurants has a 12 month low of $28.00 and a 12 month high of $47.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $751.05, a PE ratio of 23.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 0.96. The company has a quick ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.56 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79.

BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ:BJRI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.24 by ($0.09). The firm had revenue of $247.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $248.73 million. BJ's Restaurants had a net margin of 3.30% and a return on equity of 13.85%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.30 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that BJ's Restaurants will post 1.38 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a special dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 4th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 13th were given a dividend of $0.11 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, November 10th. BJ's Restaurants’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 7.24%.

In other news, Director Patrick Walsh sold 37,764 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.59, for a total transaction of $1,192,964.76. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 19,844 shares in the company, valued at $626,871.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Brian S. Krakower sold 801 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.07, for a total value of $27,290.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 184,102 shares of company stock valued at $6,287,084. Corporate insiders own 6.80% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Aperio Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of BJ's Restaurants by 0.7% in the second quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 6,593 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $246,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the period. Pacad Investment Ltd. raised its position in BJ's Restaurants by 1.8% during the second quarter. Pacad Investment Ltd. now owns 5,800 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $216,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its position in BJ's Restaurants by 1.2% during the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 17,086 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $636,000 after purchasing an additional 208 shares in the last quarter. People s United Financial Inc. raised its position in BJ's Restaurants by 2.1% during the second quarter. People s United Financial Inc. now owns 12,014 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $447,000 after purchasing an additional 246 shares in the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in BJ's Restaurants by 2.5% during the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 16,533 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $615,000 after purchasing an additional 401 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 91.75% of the company’s stock.

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BJ's Restaurants Company Profile

BJ’s Restaurants, Inc owns and operates restaurants. The Company segment includes casual dining company-owned restaurants. Each of its restaurants is operated either as a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, a BJ’s Pizza & Grill or a BJ’s Grill restaurant. The Company’s restaurants offer craft beers and other beers, as well as a selection of appetizers, entrees, pastas, burgers and sandwiches, specialty salads, and desserts, including its warm pizza cookie dessert, the Pizookie.

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