Yum! Earnings Help To Challenge All-Time High (YUM)

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Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) is showing that not all international stories are cautious.  The owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC reported earnings for the fourth quarter.  For the quarter, earnings came in at $0.75 EPS versus the Thomson Reuters estimate of $0.74.  Sales were listed as $4.11 billion versus the $4.03 billion expected.

The company has already increased its annual dividend rate to $1.14 per share and its 2011 earnings are $2.74 EPS.  It also repurchased 14.3 million shares totaling $733 million at an average price of $51.00 per share.

Worldwide system sales grew 11% before currency translation in the quarter, but this was a gain of about 33% in China.  The international growth was 10% versus 6% growth in the united States.  Same-store sales grew 21% in China, 3% in all international and only 1% in the U.S.  Worldwide restaurant margin declined 1.1 percentage points to 14.3%.

The company did note that results for Yum! Restaurants International and the U.S. reflect the benefit of an additional week, but noted that this 53rd week did not impact China Division results.

Yum! Brands closed down 1% at $63.19 but the after-hours reaction is up 2.3% at $64.70.  Keep in mind that $64.75 is its 52-week high AND its all-time high.

JON C. OGG

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