William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia weighed in with an optimistic view on Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.(NYSE:CMG), after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified six additional cases of E. coli that match the strain originally identified as linked to Chipotle, bringing the total cases linked to Chipotle to 42.
Zackfia wrote, “Although it remains difficult at this juncture to determine the near-term impact of the E. coli outbreak on Chipotle, we estimate the direct impact at roughly a nickel in EPS or less, reflecting lost sales during restaurant closures in Washington and Oregon and the write-off of food.”
“Over the longer term, we continue to expect Chipotle to emerge from the incident largely unscathed, as we cannot recall a material consumer fallout related to any restaurant-related foodborne illness with the exception of the early 1990s outbreak of E. coli at Jack-in-the-Box that sickened more than 700 people and caused a handful of deaths,” the analyst continued.
Zackfia concluded, “While admittedly the news of additional E. coli cases creates the potential for a greater near-term disruption in sales trends, we see value in shares from current levels for investors that can look through the near-term choppiness (which we suspect will last a quarter or two).”
The analyst reiterated an Outperform rating on Chipotle, without providing a price target.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Sharon Zackfia has a total average return of 0.9% and a 39% success rate. Zackfia has a 7.5% average return when recommending CMG, and is ranked #1758 out of 3636 analysts.
Out of the 28 analysts polled by TipRanks, 16 rate Chipotle Mexican Grill stock a Buy, 11 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends Sell. With a return potential of 22%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $706.50.