The earnings growth ofBrinker International (
) doesn't match up to the industry's hottest stocks. But it is
steady, something income investors can appreciate.
Brinker's three-year earnings growth rate is 25%. That's solid
but not quite good enough for the top 10 of the industry.
More important could be Brinker's Earnings Stability Factor of
2 -- a nearly perfect score.
The stock is trading at new highs as it continues a yearslong
upward trend in which the deepest correction (in 2009) was
Brinker operates more than 1,500 restaurants. Most of them are
Chili's, plus 44 are Maggiano's Little Italy stores.
The company pays a quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share, for
an annualized yield of about 2%. The dividend was raised the past
Same-store sales in the March-ended quarter fell 1.1%.
Restaurant operating margin improved to 17.9% from 17.2%.
Analysts made bullish comments last week.
On Friday, Standard & Poor's raised its target price for
the stock by 12 points to 47. (It closed Friday at 40.74.)
S&P also raised its estimate for June-ending fiscal year
earnings to $2.33 and for the fiscal year 2014 to $2.75.
"Although the sales environment remains challenging near term,
we believe same-store sales will be slightly positive for the
rest of 2013, as the economy continues to improve," Jim Yin, an
analyst at S&P Capital IQ, wrote in a report.
Yin also expects wider operating margins in the current and
next fiscal years, citing better productivity and cost controls
on marketing and general administrative expenses.
The previous day, Raymond James raised its target price on
Brinker to 45 from 42.