Today: The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) to “Hold”

The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) to “Hold”

Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ:PNRA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Panera Bread’s third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.37 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.2% and increased 3.8% year over year primarily on the back of higher revenues. The company also raised its previously issued fiscal 2016 EPS guidance. Meanwhile, total revenue of $684.2 million beat the consensus mark by 0.4% and increased 2.9% backed by higher bakery-café sales, fresh dough and other product sales to franchisees, and increased franchise royalties and fees. Taking revenue growth into consideration, it is safe to say that the Panera 2.0 program as well as innovation in food, operations, design and marketing has started yielding results. We are also positive on the company’s commitment to remove all artificial ingredients from its food items. However, higher investments and costs are expected to hurt margins, while a soft consumer spending environment in the U.S. restaurant space might limit revenue growth.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Maxim Group increased their target price on shares of Panera Bread from $230.00 to $250.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 29th. Vetr upgraded shares of Panera Bread from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 30th. Robert W. Baird restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Panera Bread in a research report on Thursday, September 8th. Piper Jaffray Cos. restated an “overweight” rating and set a $237.00 target price on shares of Panera Bread in a research report on Tuesday, July 12th. Finally, RBC Capital Markets started coverage on shares of Panera Bread in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $250.00 target price on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and nineteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $230.35.

Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) opened at 194.26 on Thursday. Panera Bread has a 52-week low of $165.17 and a 52-week high of $224.15. The company has a 50-day moving average of $195.72 and a 200 day moving average of $209.51. The company has a market cap of $4.52 billion, a PE ratio of 32.30 and a beta of 0.66.

Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.34 by $0.03. Panera Bread had a net margin of 5.24% and a return on equity of 39.44%. The firm had revenue of $684.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $682.04 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.32 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Panera Bread will post $6.71 EPS for the current year.

In other news, SVP Scott G. Blair sold 306 shares of Panera Bread stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $221.38, for a total transaction of $67,742.28. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Mark D. Wooldridge sold 164 shares of Panera Bread stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $222.18, for a total transaction of $36,437.52. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 1,461 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $324,604.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 6.96% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Nuveen Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Panera Bread by 76.6% in the first quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 36,927 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,564,000 after buying an additional 16,019 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its position in shares of Panera Bread by 16.6% in the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 270,392 shares of the company’s stock worth $55,384,000 after buying an additional 38,592 shares in the last quarter. Hancock Holding Co. acquired a new position in shares of Panera Bread during the first quarter worth about $13,419,000. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Panera Bread by 1.7% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 147,463 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,204,000 after buying an additional 2,436 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Loomis Sayles & Co. L P boosted its position in shares of Panera Bread by 20.6% in the first quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 12,364 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,533,000 after buying an additional 2,112 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.09% of the company’s stock.

Panera Bread Company Profile

Panera Bread Company (Panera) is a food service provider. Panera is a national bakery-cafe concept with approximately 1,970 Company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafe locations in over 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada. The Company operates through three segments: Company Bakery-Cafe Operations, Franchise Operations, and Fresh Dough and Other Product Operations.

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