Brinker International's stock was indicated slightly higher in premarket trade Wednesday, after the casual dining restaurant chain reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter profit and sales. For the quarter ended Dec. 24, net earnings rose to $41.3 million, or 64 cents a share, from $39.7 million, or 58 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share of 71 cents beat the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 69 cents. Total revenue rose to $742.9 million from $705.7 million last year, above analyst forecasts of $737 million. Same-store sales increased 3.7%, compared with analyst expectations of 2.8%, as sales at its company-owned Chili's restaurants rose 4% and at Maggiano's grew 2.3%. The stock was up 0.2% ahead of the open. It has run up 17% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.2%.
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