Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUTH) COO Cheryl Janet Henry sold 18,000 shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.47, for a total transaction of $386,460.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 343,617 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,377,456.99. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink.

Shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (NASDAQ RUTH) opened at $21.50 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.29. Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. has a one year low of $16.55 and a one year high of $22.65. The firm has a market cap of $689.06, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.08, a PEG ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 0.35.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group (NASDAQ:RUTH) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.06 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09 by ($0.03). Ruth’s Hospitality Group had a return on equity of 35.46% and a net margin of 7.47%. The firm had revenue of $85.16 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $87.20 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.10 earnings per share. Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s quarterly revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. will post 1.03 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Friday, November 3rd that permits the company to repurchase $60.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the restaurant operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 22nd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 9th were paid a $0.09 dividend. This represents a $0.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.67%. This is a boost from Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.06. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 8th. Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s payout ratio is presently 37.50%.

A number of analysts have issued reports on RUTH shares. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $20.00 target price on shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group in a research note on Thursday, August 31st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $22.00.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 10.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,287,383 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $93,252,000 after buying an additional 389,525 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,378,750 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $51,737,000 after purchasing an additional 44,441 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 2.0% during the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,662,250 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $34,824,000 after purchasing an additional 33,385 shares during the last quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH raised its stake in Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 73.5% during the 3rd quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 1,469,161 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $30,779,000 after purchasing an additional 622,386 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its stake in Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 4.5% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 901,073 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $18,061,000 after purchasing an additional 38,941 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.32% of the company’s stock.

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About Ruth’s Hospitality Group

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc develops and operates fine dining restaurants under the name, Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The Company operates through two segments. As of December 25, 2016, the Company-owned steakhouse restaurant segment included 68 Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants and one Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant, and the franchise operations segment included 81 franchisee-owned Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants.

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