Posts by Chris Nichols
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
After reaching an all-time high and an outsized valuation, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) needed to get everything right with its latest earnings report and outlook. It didn't.
But the degree of selling in the shares following an entirely common event for the high-end home-goods retailer -- issuing conservative guidance that's below Wall Street's estimates -- is arguably overdone. Recently Thursday, the stock was down 10.7% to $66.85, on seven times normal volume, following a third-quarter forecast that failed to meet analysts' consensus.
The idea of being "priced for perfection" is as old as trading, and undoubtedly Williams-Sonoma, with its stellar post-financial meltdown run, was just that, on Wednesday rocketing as high as a record $75.69. Many important valuation measures were ahead of their five-year average readings, including a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 21.9, compared with the normal 18.5, and the P/E-to-growth ratio of 1.6 vs. 1.4.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance6 days ago
Any time an industry has a potentially transforming merger, the question arises as to whether it's the first of many. Such is the case now for restaurants, as Miami-based Burger King (BKW) and Canada's Tim Hortons (THI) pursue a merger to create a burger, coffee and pastries seller with a current combined market cap of $22 billion.
But within the group, other compelling takeover candidates arguably are few in number, with only a handful appearing both reasonably affordable and of a style that could quickly -- conceivably -- enhance the prospects of an acquirer.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance7 days ago
Though it isn't remotely on the scale of the potential merger of Burger King (BKW) and Tim Hortons (THI), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) has made another smart investment outside its core offering of hot chicken wings, taking a majority stake in a small Dallas-based taco chain.
Buffalo Wild Wings didn't disclose financial terms, but said Monday it's invested in Rusty Taco, a nine-store operation that opened its first location in 2010. Beyond Dallas, Rusty Taco has stores in Denver, a market popular with chains and home to Mexican-style fast-casual restaurant Chipotle (CMG), and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where Buffalo Wild Wings is based.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance10 days ago
After outpacing the overall market for each of the past five years, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) may have finally run its course. And that's not just because it declined following a quarterly earnings report that contained nothing alarming.
Of course, if it has hit the runner's wall, it only means the 2,262-store Atlanta-based chicken seller is joining the club of so many publicly traded restaurants that have fallen out of favor with investors in 2014. Popeyes stock lost more than 3% on Thursday from Wednesday's close, following the after-hours earnings report. The dip was almost certainly because Popeyes shares — along with those of a large number of other food-service companies — had gotten overvalued. On Friday the stock is essentially flat in midday trade, at $39.26.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance13 days ago
Fast food chain El Pollo Loco (LOCO) was having one of the worst days in its newly public history Tuesday, dropping nearly 10% after it became clear Wall Street thinks the shares have gotten overvalued.
Among new ratings Tuesday, Stifel Nicolaus and Jefferies issued holds, while William Blair set a buy on the stock. In recent trading, it was down $3.28 to $29.91. At the moment, analysts have what amounts to a $31 consensus price on the stock, according to FactSet.
IPOs, of course, often surge to great heights in their early days (they also often retreat, sometimes fast). In the case of El Pollo Loco, it was buoyed in its initial sessions by hopes investors would be purchasing stock in a company that could follow Chipotle's (CMG) extremely successful store expansion and price gains in the market. Though multiple disappointments have been found along that path, buyers can't seem to pass up the chance for fear they'll miss a winner.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance13 days ago
It's not typical for nationwide buzz to accompany a Taco Bell restaurant opening. But when it's Taco Bell's new store, U.S. Taco Co., a higher-scale eatery whose first location is now operating, it starts to make some sense. And when considering this particular store is at the center of what's working awfully well for chain restaurants these days, it makes a great deal more.
While U.S. Taco borrows from elements of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, its leadership wants to focus messaging on the menu's attempts to reinvent the "best regional dishes" from America. Lobster, Mahi Mahi, pulled pork and brisket are among the centerpiece items decorated with poblano sauces, jalapenos and salsas, all on a tortilla, sold mostly in the $3 to $4 range each.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance18 days ago
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) was having one of the worst trading days in the stock's history Thursday, slumping to a 52-week low after a terrible quarterly report and further putting its five-year market winning streak in doubt.
The Greenwood Village, Colo., burger chain recently was down $13.63 at $50.92. On a percentage basis, the 21.1% drop would be its fourth-largest in a session going back to 2002. Earlier in the day, it was at $50.50. Meanwhile, two hours into trading, volume was 15 times higher than average.
At this point, Red Robin's stock has lost 30% in 2014. That's a major turnaround for shares that haven't had a negative year since 2008 and that last year surged 108%. However, as is the case with many restaurants that rallied in 2013 -- more than 50% for a broad group Yahoo Finance tracks -- the new year has been much more subdued. For stocks such as Red Robin, which peaked at $86.83 in November, it's been downright awful.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance18 days ago
The trading disaster that is Noodles & Co. (NDLS) was holding to form early Thursday, plunging 21% after another weaker-than-expected quarterly report delivered further misery to anyone owning the shares.
Following its fourth consecutive quarterly sales shortfall and a reduced outlook for the full year, the stock was losing $5.24 to $19.97, its lowest price since it started trading 14 months ago.
Investors had viewed Noodles' debut as that of a restaurant with the opportunity -- possibly -- to be "the next Chipotle." Instead, they've gotten little but distress if they've been with the name for any time aside from brief, fortunate upward spurts. The stock opened for trading at $32 after its June 2013 IPO, rising to $51.97 days later. It's been stepping lower since, but the current decline would be the worst trading day it's had. Previously, its largest single-day drop was a 13.7% fall on April 30, after disappointing first-quarter earnings.
Even before the latest decrease, shares were down 29.4% in 2014. At this point, they're 61% below their peak.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance21 days ago
Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) added another positive financial development Monday, saying its sales results for the fiscal second quarter probably would surpass Wall Street's estimates.
Shares rose following the news, recently by 2.8% to $30.40. Earlier in the session, the stock was as high as $31.50, equal to a 6.5% gain from Friday's close.
Zoe's is one of the newly public restaurant chains that's been discussed as potentially "the next Chipotle," meaning it's a fast-casual store that promises higher-quality ingredients, at a price above fast-food operators. Plano, Texas-based Zoe's had its IPO in April, and from its first trade at $25.65, the stock is up 18.5% at its current level. However, that's well below its all-time high of $35.59.
The latest gain was prompted by the company saying quarterly revenue was between $41.6 million and $41.8 million, with same-store sales rising 7.3% to 7.5%. Analysts are expecting revenue of $40.5 million and a comparable-sales increase of 5.8%, according to FactSet. The final results will be released around Aug. 28.
- Chris Nichols at Yahoo Finance25 days ago
Jack in the Box (JACK) shares were having their strongest session since late 2008 on Thursday, with a 9.3% post-earnings gain that had them back near their best-ever level recorded in March.
In recent trading, the stock was up $5.18 to $60.63, and earlier it was as high as $61.25. The best price ever was $62.90. So far in 2014, it's gained 21.4%.
Shares were rising after the San Diego-based owner of the Jack in the Box burger chain and Qdoba Mexican Grill topped analysts' quarterly estimates and offered an improved outlook, one that likely means earnings for the year will exceed the consensus view that's increased from $2.24 a share in January to $2.39 currently.
With the advance, it keeps Jack in the Box trading well above its normal levels, as a result of nearly tripling from the beginning of 2012. Its forward price-to-earnings multiple is 22.4, surpassing the 15.5 five-year average, though that is slightly below the 22.6 it had when Yahoo Finance profiled the stock in June.