Markets plunged even lower on Thursday, following a recent downtrend that has been taking place over the past few months. Despite this trend, one Wall Street brokerage firm thinks that it has found a few stocks to ride out the storm.
BofA Securities has issued a couple calls with a focus on the restaurant industry. Each call is incredibly positive, forecasting massive upside in both the near and long term However, there is one exception in the group.
While market headwinds have put a damper on the markets in general over the past few months, BofA Securities believes that a couple of these stocks could provide solid upside in the coming months and years.
It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
BofA’s Sara Senatore initiated coverage on Texas Roadhouse Inc. (NASDAQ: TXRH) with a Buy rating and a $96 price target, which implies upside of 25% from the most recent closing price of $76.95.
Senatore believes that the company’s same-store sales growth expectations for the second half of the year should be “achievable,” and the company also should benefit from margin tailwinds in fiscal 2023 amid delayed transmission process in beef prices offered when retail prices are high. She continued that Texas Roadhouse also generates an “attractive” mid-20% return on investment by driving industry-leading sales productivity.
The stock traded around $74 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $68.58 to $102.20. Shares are down over 17% year to date. The dividend yield is 2.4%.
Senatore was on the Brinker International Inc. (NYSE: EAT) call as well, reinstating coverage with an Underperform rating and a $26 price target. That implies upside of 8% from the most recent closing price of $23.97.
Between Brinker’s two brands, Chili’s drives results, as its domestic system is about 12 times the size of Maggiano’s measured by size, according to Senatore. She sees competition dictating margins and returns and contends that the bar and grill space in which Chili’s competes is “hypercompetitive,” while also noting that the company’s leverage could amplify its recession risk.
Brinker stock has a 52-week trading range of $21.48 to $64.49, and it traded near $22 a share on Thursday. The stock is down 39% year to date.
For Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), BofA’s Katherine Griffin was the lead on the call. She reinstated a Buy rating and a $145 price target, implying upside of 21% from the most recent closing price of $119.81.
Griffin noted that the demand backdrop for Darden, the largest full-service restaurant operator in the United States, is “benign if not favorable.” She ultimately views Darden as well-positioned to capture volume growth “in all forms,” from off-premise channels, as well as pent-up demand for dining occasions.
The stock traded around $113 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $110.96 to $164.28. Shares are down over 24% year to date. The dividend yield is 3.9%.
Senatore was back again on this call, and she downgraded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) to Underperform from Neutral and cut the $108 price target to $94. From the most recent closing price of $89.70, that still would be a 5% gain.
Between 2012 and 2019, Cracker Barrel had consistently outpaced both family dining and casual dining segment averages, according Senatore, who still views the company as a “family dining leader.” However, near-term headwinds continue to build for its customers, and the stock’s relative multiple has tracked same-store sales growth, which Senatore sees as likely to be revised downward.
Cracker Barrel stock has a 52-week trading range of $81.92 to $151.19, and it traded near $84 a share on Thursday. The stock is down about 34% year to date. It has a dividend yield of 6.2%.
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