Chipotle shares rise 6% on company's adjusted profit beat
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. shares rose more than 6% in the extended session Wednesday after the fast-casual restaurant chain reported adjusted quarterly earnings above expectations. Chipotle said it earned $32 million, or $1.15 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $43.8 million, or $1.55 a share, in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $48.1 million, or $1.72 a share. Revenue rose 10% to $1.2 billion, which the company pinned on a 6.1% increase in comparable-restaurant sales and new restaurant openings. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of $1.40 a share on sales of $1.2 billion. Food, beverage and packaging costs fell year-on-year, Chipotle said, primarily thanks menu price increases in late 2017 and early 2018 and, to a lesser extent, favorable avocado pricing partially offset by increased freight expenses and higher paper and packaging costs. For 2019, Chipotle called for opening 140 to 155 new restaurants, and comparable-restaurant sales growth in the mid-single digit range, the company said. Chipotle's board of directors OK'd an additional $100 million share buyback. Shares of Chipotle had ended the regular trading day down 0.1%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.