Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was downgraded to perform from outperform at Oppenheimer due to a lack of visibility about when the share price will recover after a steep decline over recent months. Chipotle has been battling nationwide illness outbreaks that have taken a toll on the company's stock and reputation. Oppenheimer has lowered its earnings per share estimates for 2016 and 2017 to $15.14 and $18.21 respectively, based on factors including lower sales trends. The FactSet earnings per share estimate for fiscal 2016 is $16.14, and for fiscal 2017, the earnings per share estimate is $20.48. "Cost structure may evolve significantly as Chipotle has suggested expenses would elevate as it improves food safety protocols, increases marketing and adjusts sourcing, cleaning and distribution (without the benefit of a '16 price increase)," Oppenheimer said in a note published Monday. Chipotle shares closed down 6.5% on Monday.
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