Louisville-based restaurant chain
Yum! Brands, Inc.
) is set to report second-quarter 2014 results on Jul 16.
In the last quarter, Yum! delivered 3.6% positive earnings surprise
driven by outstanding performance at its China division. Moreover,
the company recorded an earnings beat in three of the trailing four
quarters with an average surprise of 1.1%.
Why a Likely Positive Surprise?
Our proven model shows that Yum! is likely to beat earnings because
it has the right combination of two key components.
, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate
estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, stands at +1.37%. This
is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive
earnings surprise for the company.
: Yum! has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Note that stocks with Zacks Rank
#1, 2 or 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.
The Sell-rated stocks (#4 and 5) should never be considered going
into an earnings announcement.
The combination of Yum!'s Zacks Rank #3 and +1.37% ESP makes us
confident of an earnings beat.
What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?
Yum! restructured its business divisions effective from the first
quarter of 2014. The company currently reports under 5 segments -
China, India, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
In our view, the performance of the China division will drive
Yum!'s second-quarter results. Although the company's business last
year in China suffered from food quality concerns and bird flu
panic significantly affecting KFC sales, the restaurateur has
managed to post a turnaround. The fact that the company is planning
to open 700 restaurants this year in China reflects that Yum! is
looking to tap the high demand in the region. Additionally, the
company will face easier comparisons as a result of soft
sales in China in the year-ago quarter.
Last quarter, China showed an impressive 9% growth in comps. Top
line increased 17% in China and, most importantly, KFC's comparable
sales went up 11%. We believe that Yum! will continue to see robust
results in China in the second quarter as well. Menu innovation,
marketing initiatives and aggressive expansion are expected to be
However, in the U.S., Yum! has struggled to replicate the same
success. Yum!'s first quarter witnessed a dip in U.S.
comparable-store sales, hurt mainly by inclement weather at the
beginning of the year. We expect the trend to continue in the
second quarter too. However, the company is looking to turn its
fortune around by introducing the breakfast menu at its Taco Bell
division in the U.S. and promoting the Power Platform to target
health-conscious consumers. Although the economic environment in
U.S. is sluggish, Taco Bell looks poised to perform well. However,
we remain concerned about the declining comps in KFC and Pizza Hut
Other Stocks to Consider
Here are some other companies in the restaurant sector that
investors may consider, as our model shows that they have the right
combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:
Brinker International, Inc.
), with an Earnings ESP of +1.15% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
), with an Earnings ESP of +2.30% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Domino's Pizza, Inc.
), with an Earnings ESP of +1.54% and a Zacks Rank #2.
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