BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. Value Increase Leaves Analysts Cold

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BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) released an earnings report on Thursday afternoon and the 6 cent beat on headline EPS seemed enough to send the company’s shares up 15% on today’s market. The company’s much better than expected performance in the three months through June wasn’t to everyone’s taste, however, and some of the analysts looking at the company made their views public today.

Shares in BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) hit levels not since since twelve months ago in June before falling through the second half of that month and most of July. Nobody was especially hopeful about the numbers the company was set to release on Thursday and it showed in the 14% the company had shaved off its value in the month before the release.

BJ’s earnings surprise market

On Thursday evening the company’s management, probably with some sort of accompanying glee, released an earnings report that showed EPS of 30 cents in the quarter, ahead of the Wall Street consensus by a full six cents. The company’s revenue for the period came in at $219.3 million, a little behind the Street’s guess of $220 million. BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) owns and operates around 150 casual dining restaurants and says that same store sales improved in the period, despite the overall disappointing revenue.

Analysts did not seem to be all that impressed by the company’s recover in value, however. Barclays maintained an Underperform rating on the company and left it with a price target of $28, up from the previous target of $27 but far below the $35 or so the company’s shares are trading for at time of writing. Zack’s was also relatively unimpressed, but upgraded BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) from and Underperform to a Neutral with a price target of $33.

The big beat that BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) put up on yesterday’s earnings doesn’t mean that the company’s future is set by any means, and analysts have a consensus price target of around $31 on the company’s stock. It’s difficult to see why investors are so out of line with the opinion of analysts, given the lack of enthusiasm from that side of the investment world.

Why did BJ’s pop today?

The increase in the value of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) is a return to recent form rather than a massive increase in value. It’s only a net positive to those who played the very short term, i.e. last night’s earnings. Those holding stock for more than a month have seen this come around before, and they may well see it again.

BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) has an opportunity in a massive market, but that market is wildly competitive. The company’s shares are trading for close to 58 times earnings on today’s market, and they’re likely to remain volatile until the company expands into its value or the market lowers its valuation.

With yesterday’s earnings it seems that BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) is able to keep its margins high, and investors are betting on that going ahead. Those looking for value, however, will want to stay away from such a highly valued, highly volatile restaurant company.

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