Cheesecake Factory Inc (NASDAQ:CAKE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Cheesecake Factory posted fourth-quarter 2016 earnings per share of $0.67, which was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Meanwhile, the figure increased 24.1% year over year on higher revenues and a lower share count. Sales of $603.1 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $594.3 million by 1.5% and were up 14.5% on a year-over-year basis. Various initiatives to boost sales and traffic like menu innovation, roll-out of an improved server training program, launch of mobile payment app and increased focus on delivery service bode well. Meanwhile, the company’s aggressive expansion initiatives should drive growth. However, higher labor and pre-openings costs coupled with expenses related to sales initiatives are likely to continue to hurt margins. Soft consumer spending in the U.S. restaurant space also remains a major headwind for the company.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also issued reports on CAKE. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $54.00 price objective on shares of Cheesecake Factory in a report on Friday, February 10th. BTIG Research reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 target price (up from $60.00) on shares of Cheesecake Factory in a research report on Thursday, December 1st. Jefferies Group LLC downgraded Cheesecake Factory from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $51.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, January 4th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group increased their target price on Cheesecake Factory from $61.00 to $66.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 23rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $57.21.

Analyst Recommendations for Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE)

Shares of Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) traded down 0.74% on Monday, reaching $62.73. 176,665 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The company’s 50 day moving average is $61.14 and its 200-day moving average is $57.10. The stock has a market cap of $2.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.17 and a beta of 0.20. Cheesecake Factory has a one year low of $46.93 and a one year high of $64.41.

Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 22nd. The company reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67. Cheesecake Factory had a net margin of 6.11% and a return on equity of 22.76%. The business earned $603.10 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $595.82 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.54 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 14.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Cheesecake Factory will post $3.03 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 21st. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 8th will be given a $0.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 6th. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.52%. Cheesecake Factory’s dividend payout ratio is presently 35.56%.

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In related news, insider Cheryl Slomann sold 3,444 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.64, for a total value of $212,288.16. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 15,538 shares in the company, valued at $957,762.32. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Debby R. Zurzolo sold 2,247 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.84, for a total value of $141,201.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 35,224 shares of company stock valued at $2,181,120. 8.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Cheesecake Factory by 2.9% in the third quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 34,076 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,706,000 after buying an additional 974 shares in the last quarter. LSV Asset Management bought a new stake in shares of Cheesecake Factory during the third quarter worth about $13,846,000. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Cheesecake Factory by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 441,927 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,462,000 after buying an additional 2,186 shares in the last quarter. Outfitter Advisors LTD. increased its stake in shares of Cheesecake Factory by 5.3% in the third quarter. Outfitter Advisors LTD. now owns 58,120 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,909,000 after buying an additional 2,920 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sei Investments Co. increased its stake in shares of Cheesecake Factory by 6.9% in the third quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 45,768 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,291,000 after buying an additional 2,949 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 95.52% of the company’s stock.

About Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated is engaged in the restaurant and bakery business. The Company operates approximately 200 Company-owned restaurants, including approximately 190 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory mark and approximately 10 restaurants under the Grand Lux Cafe mark. The Company’s segments include The Cheesecake Factory restaurants, and other, which includes Grand Lux Cafe, RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, bakery and international licensing.

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