Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) shares gapped up prior to trading on Thursday following a stronger than expected earnings report. The stock had previously closed at $32.53, but opened at $34.27. Brinker International shares last traded at $34.89, with a volume of 3,683,242 shares trading hands.

The restaurant operator reported $1.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.04 by $0.05. Brinker International had a net margin of 5.05% and a negative return on equity of 39.89%. The firm had revenue of $810.66 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $809.94 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.24 earnings per share. Brinker International’s revenue was down 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 28th. Investors of record on Friday, September 8th will be given a dividend of $0.38 per share. This is a boost from Brinker International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.34. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.36%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 7th. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 44.16%.

Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and set a $40.00 price objective (down from $49.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research report on Wednesday. Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $49.00 price objective (down from $54.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research report on Wednesday. BidaskClub cut shares of Brinker International from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Brinker International from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein restated a “market perform” rating and set a $50.00 price objective on shares of Brinker International in a research report on Tuesday, July 25th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. Brinker International presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $46.54.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Bruderman Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Brinker International during the second quarter valued at approximately $123,000. LS Investment Advisors LLC raised its position in Brinker International by 18.7% in the first quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 4,107 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $181,000 after buying an additional 647 shares during the last quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC raised its position in Brinker International by 0.4% in the first quarter. Kernodle & Katon Asset Management Group LLC now owns 4,864 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $214,000 after buying an additional 17 shares during the last quarter. ING Groep NV acquired a new position in Brinker International during the second quarter valued at approximately $227,000. Finally, Eqis Capital Management Inc. raised its position in Brinker International by 0.3% in the first quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 6,393 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $281,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the last quarter.

The company’s 50-day moving average is $36.55 and its 200-day moving average is $41.17. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.39 and a beta of 0.25.

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About Brinker International

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.

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