Shares of BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ: BJRI) rose as much as 11.4% in Friday's morning session, boosted by an analyst upgrade. By 3:20 p.m. EDT, the restaurant chain's stock had settled down to a 3.4% gain.
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Analyst firm Oppenheimer upgraded BJ's from "perform" to "outperform," setting the stock's price target at $52 per share. Reaching that level would add another 26% to BJ's share price. Oppenheimer analyst Brian Bittner noted that share prices had fallen 45% from last summer's 52-week highs, creating an attractive risk-to-reward profile at current prices.
BJ's bears have been concerned that the company may fall short of Wall Street's full-year earnings targets, but Bittner argues that the company should be able to meet current expectations. In last month's first-quarter earnings call, management outlined strong year-over-year EBITDA growth in the second and third quarters. The company is also arguably less exposed to Chinese-American trade tensions since only 5% of its ingredients are sourced via Chinese distributors. The Oppenheimer analyst expects these positives to shine through next Wednesday, when company executives are slated to give a presentation at the analyst firm's annual consumer and e-commerce conference.
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