Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (RUTH) to “Hold”

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUTH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, November 9th.

According to Zacks, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Inc. is one of the largest upscale steak house companies in the U.S. Ruth’s Chris specializes in USDA Prime grade steaks served in Ruth’s Chris signature fashion – sizzling and topped with seasoned butter. “

Several other research firms have also issued reports on RUTH. BidaskClub lowered Ruth’s Hospitality Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $20.00 target price on shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group in a research note on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $22.00.

Shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group (RUTH) traded down $0.05 during trading on Thursday, hitting $20.20. The stock had a trading volume of 482,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 224,402. Ruth’s Hospitality Group has a twelve month low of $16.50 and a twelve month high of $22.65. The firm has a market cap of $633.38, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.09, a PEG ratio of 1.37 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a current ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.29 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group (NASDAQ:RUTH) last posted its earnings results on Friday, November 3rd. The restaurant operator reported $0.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.09 by ($0.03). Ruth’s Hospitality Group had a return on equity of 35.46% and a net margin of 7.47%. The firm had revenue of $85.16 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $87.20 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.10 EPS. Ruth’s Hospitality Group’s revenue was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that Ruth’s Hospitality Group will post 1.03 earnings per share for the current year.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group declared that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Friday, November 3rd that allows the company to repurchase $60.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the restaurant operator to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 24,548 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.91, for a total value of $488,750.68. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 157,551 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,136,840.41. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 1,856 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.00, for a total value of $37,120.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 157,551 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,151,020. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 7.45% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in RUTH. OppenheimerFunds Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 21.8% in the 1st quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 15,579 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $313,000 after purchasing an additional 2,789 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 3.5% in the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 236,939 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $4,751,000 after purchasing an additional 7,924 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 5.6% in the 1st quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 227,079 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $4,553,000 after purchasing an additional 12,049 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 2.7% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,334,309 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $46,802,000 after purchasing an additional 60,769 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its position in Ruth’s Hospitality Group by 2.7% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 259,707 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $5,207,000 after acquiring an additional 6,885 shares during the period. 81.31% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group Company Profile

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc develops and operates fine dining restaurants under the name, Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The Company operates through two segments. As of December 25, 2016, the Company-owned steakhouse restaurant segment included 68 Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants and one Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant, and the franchise operations segment included 81 franchisee-owned Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants.

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