Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) shares jumped almost 10 percent in trading on Friday after the company’s positive first-quarter earnings report. This is the same stock so-called “bond god” Jeff Gundlach recommended shorting earlier this month, according to Business Insider. Well-known hedge fund manager David Einhorn also presented a short case for the fast casual chain back in October.
In a report issued to investors this week, analysts at Deutsche Bank examined Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)’s latest report and went over the company’s investor call. The company reported earnings per share of $2.45, which was well ahead of their expectations of $2.20 per share and the consensus of $2.14 per share.
The analysts said the biggest surprise from the company’s first-quarter report was cost of goods sold. They said food inflation “surprised to the downside,” which meant higher earnings for Chipotle and will likely mean higher earnings for other restaurant chains. The lower-than-expected food inflation rate also meant Chipotle’s profit margins carried most of the weight in the company’s positive first-quarter earnings.
They mentioned the company’s commentary regarding menu pricing, saying that it was “a bit less committal” than it was on previous calls. They said this may have mitigated some of the enthusiasm surrounding the quarter’s strong margins. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) said they might “stand pat” on their menu pricing this year, although they haven’t discounted the possibility of raising prices this year entirely.
The analysts said a price increase is at least pushed out from the middle of the year to late summer or early fall at the earliest. They point out that the company prefers to raise prices in the 3 to 5 percent range.
Deutsche Bank analysts also believe the company’s guidance of 165 to 180 new restaurant openings this year may be a bit conservative because of how strong the company’s first quarter was.
They raised their price target on shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) from $330 to $345 per share but are continuing their Hold rating on the stock.