The lawsuit was postponed for the umpteenth time to early 1998. Haven't heard anything on a rescheduled date yet.
If all continues to go well with JITB's expansion plans and they at least make their earnings estimate ($0.28 this quarter, which is a long quarter with 16 weeks), I think FM will have a pretty easy time of getting back up to the $18 range. $20-plus is doable if they beat the estimates and show even stronger growth. FM's best quarters are coming up (Spring & Summer), so this stock is worth holding at least 6 months.
I've been saying for some time that FM is undervalued; that goes even more so now. IMO, FM will begin to inch back up soon, unless we're entering a bear market. In the past couple of days, we've finally begun to see some strength as it inched up to $15 15/16 intraday yesterday, only to fall back down. But there does seem to be a little more resistance to the sub-$15 level where it has been languishing. I've been buying a little more every time it drops below $15 and selling a little bit when it goes over $16 1/2.
According to First Call, there have been no revisions upwards or downwards from the $0.28 mean earnings estimate for next quarter; recommendation is 1.3 vs. 2.4 for the industry average (1.0 being the strongest buy); 1998 PE is 13.2 vs. 17.49 for the industry average; 1998 PEG is .66 vs. 1.17 for the industry average.
FM is still relatively unnoticed, with a float of only 26 million shares. They haven't been announcing the spectacular sales gains they had over the past 2 years as they struggled to rebuild from the food poisonings, so they've probably slipped back off the radar of momentum players, IMO. However, FM will still undergo strong growth and continue to pay down its debt. We should get a typical run up sometime before the next earnings release on February 6th. Hang in there!