Ruth's Hospitality Group (RUTH) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group (NASDAQ:RUTH) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.

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) opened at $22.40 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $689.68, a PE ratio of 22.97, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 0.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.41 and a quick ratio of 0.29. Ruth's Hospitality Group has a 12-month low of $16.55 and a 12-month high of $22.65.

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

Ruth's Hospitality Group declared that its Board of Directors has initiated 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 repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Ruth's Hospitality Group news, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 24,548 shares of the firm’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 transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 157,551 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,136,840.41. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, COO Kevin W. Toomy sold 1,856 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.00, for a total value of $37,120.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 157,551 shares in the company, valued at $3,151,020. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 44,404 shares of company stock worth $912,331 over the last three months. Insiders own 7.45% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in RUTH. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in Ruth's Hospitality Group by 46.9% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 306,202 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $6,660,000 after purchasing an additional 97,694 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 53,780 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,170,000 after buying an additional 3,196 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its position in shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group by 45.6% during the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 11,445 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $249,000 after buying an additional 3,585 shares in the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group during the 2nd quarter valued at about $212,000. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group by 227.5% during the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 775,973 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $16,877,000 after buying an additional 539,034 shares in the last quarter. 81.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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