DineEquity Inc. shares fell 2.3% in Tuesday trading after it was downgraded to neutral from buy at Instinet on concerns about same-store sales trends at its two signature brands, Applebee's and IHOP. The price target was cut to $77 from $95. Instinet analysts say the pace of same-store sales recovery at Applebee's is slower than anticipated, and believes there are risks of restaurant closures. "It now appears likely that Applebee's will report the worst fourth-quarter same-store sales of any of the 25 largest restaurant chains in the U.S., as measured by domestic systemwide sales," Instinet wrote in a Tuesday note. Pancake chain IHOP is experiencing weakening same-store sales trends as well, according to Instinet. DineEquity shares are down 13.7% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 19% for the same period.
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