This Restaurant Stock Outperformed in 2020 ... Now What?

The Chili’s parent company is due to report earnings on Jan. 27

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Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) is a casual dining restaurant company that owns, operates, or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants in 29 countries under household names like Chili’s Grill & Bar or Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Brinker stock has scored a 37.5% 12-month gain. EAT is another prime example of a V-shaped rally; the stock traded at $7 on March 18, and just yesterday scored a record high of $63.31. During this ascension, the shares' 60-day moving average has contained pullbacks along the way. 

EAT Stock Chart

Brinker will step into the earnings confessional before the market opens on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The company has beat expectations on all four of its most recent earnings reports. This resulted in huge post-earnings pops of 29.8% back in April, and 14.5% back in August. On average, in the last eight reports, EAT has scored a post-earnings move of 8.3%, regardless of direction.

Brinker International cut its dividend after the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19pandemic. Prior to that, EAT had one of the fastest growing dividends out there. Brinker had more than quadrupled its annual dividend payments to stockholders since its initial $0.32 annual dividend in 2012.

Over the past year, Brinker saw its revenue growth halted by the pandemic, like many other restaurants. The company experienced a revenue decline of nearly $200 million and a net income decline of more than $130 million. Brinker stock currently has an extremely high price-earnings ratio of 123.62. However, that figure is expected to drop down considerably as its restaurant group begin generating more sales. EAT's forward-price earnings ratio is projected to be 29.15, which is still high but is much more reasonable than its current value. 

As far as options are concerned, EAT's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 64% sits in just the 10th annual percentile, revealing low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term contracts -- a boon to potential premium buyers. Plus, the stock has consistently rewarded premium buyers over the past year, per its Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) reading of 95 out of a possible 100. This shows the equity has tended to make larger-than-expected moves on the chart, compared to what the options market has priced in.

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