NEWS: Quarterly profit surged at Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc., buoyed by insurance settlements and increased sales at its steak houses.
The restaurant operator topped Wall Street expectations and shares rose almost 3 percent before the opening bell Friday.
DETAILS: Company-owned restaurant sales rose 4.3 percent to $84.4 million. Sales at company-owned Ruth's Chris Steak House locations open at least a year increased 4.2 percent as traffic improved. The figure climbed 1.4 percent for Mitchell's Fish Market locations.
Sales at restaurants open at least a year is a key indicator of a restaurant operator's performance because it excludes the volatility of locations recently opened or closed.
Ruth' Hospitality said its board approved a quarterly dividend of 4 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Nov. 26 to shareholders of record on Nov. 14.
NUMBERS: For the period ended Sept. 29, Ruth's Hospitality earned $2.9 million, or 8 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $802,000, or 2 cents per share.
Stripping out a $1.3 million benefit related to two insurance settlements and results from discontinued operations, earnings were 5 cents per share, which was 2 cents more than analysts had expected, according to a survey by FactSet.
Revenue for the Winter Park, Fla., company climbed 5 percent to $88.6 million from $84.3 million. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $88.3 million.
SHARES: The stock closed at $12.17 on Thursday. It is up 67 percent for the year to date.