Wendy's Co. reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell to $28.9 million, or 11 cents a share, from $85.9 million, or 31 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share slipped to 8 cents from 12 cents, missing the FactSet consensus of 9 cents. Revenue declined to $309.9 million from $464.4 million, but was above the FactSet consensus of $308.4 million. The decline in sales resulted primarily from the ownership of 522 less company-operated restaurants. Same-restaurant sales in North America rose 0.8% from a year ago, beating expectations of 0.5% growth. The fastfood company said it was increasing its quarterly dividend by 0.5 cents to 7 cents a share, and authorized a new $150 million stock buyback program. Looking ahead, Wendy's expects 2017 North America same-restaurant sales growth of 2% to 3%. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has run up 19% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 7.9%.
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