Ruth's Hospitality Group (RUTH) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Ruth's Hospitality Group (NASDAQ:RUTH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $24.00 price target on the restaurant operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 9.09% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc., headquartered in Winter Park, Florida, is the largest fine dining steakhouse company in the U.S. as measured by the total number of Company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants, with over 150 Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations worldwide specializing in USDA Prime grade steaks served in Ruth’s Chris’ signature fashion – sizzling. “

Ruth's Hospitality Group (NASDAQ:RUTH) traded up $0.35 during trading on Thursday, hitting $22.00. 174,100 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 172,550. The company has a market cap of $677.17, a P/E ratio of 23.16, a P/E/G ratio of 1.32 and a beta of 0.35. The company has a quick ratio of 0.29, a current ratio of 0.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37. Ruth's Hospitality Group has a fifty-two week low of $16.55 and a fifty-two week high of $22.65.

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

Ruth's Hospitality Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Friday, November 3rd that permits the company to repurchase $60.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the restaurant operator to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 24,548 shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group stock in a transaction on Monday, November 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.91, for a total value of $488,750.68. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 157,551 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,136,840.41. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 1,856 shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.00, for a total transaction of $37,120.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 157,551 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,151,020. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 44,404 shares of company stock worth $912,331 in the last quarter. Insiders own 7.45% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Royal Bank of Canada raised its holdings in Ruth's Hospitality Group by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 229,042 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $4,982,000 after acquiring an additional 14,231 shares during the period. Chicago Equity Partners LLC bought a new position in Ruth's Hospitality Group in the 2nd quarter worth $752,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in Ruth's Hospitality Group by 6.4% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,628,865 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $35,428,000 after acquiring an additional 98,417 shares during the period. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in Ruth's Hospitality Group by 73.1% in the 3rd quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 363,630 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $7,618,000 after acquiring an additional 153,500 shares during the period. Finally, Adams Diversified Equity Fund Inc. bought a new position in Ruth's Hospitality Group in the 3rd quarter worth $1,016,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.32% of the company’s stock.

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About Ruth's Hospitality Group

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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