Chipotle: A Closer Look at CMG's 1Q Results

First and foremost, Chipotle's 1Q was better-than-expected on the two main metrics that matter - comps and restaurant-level margins. With national advertising just now turned on and digital performing strongly, the outlook now looks better than it did before the earnings report, and the stock is up ~3% on the day after.

With that said, the report was not enough to persuade bears to flip sides. Most of the discussion was focused on comps, which was distorted by several factors. And with some deeper digging, one could find enough wrinkles in the quarter to remain bearish on Chipotle's outlook. And that's why the stock has only had a modest gain despite such a strong quarter.  You need thesis-changing operational results to drive 10%+ moves, and this wasn't it. 

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Chipotle: Will Customers Come Back to Chipotle?

A lot has happened to Chipotle since I last wrote on the stock back in October of last year. As is well known, Chipotle faced a number of health-related issues that forced the closure of numerous stores. Many restaurants have faced similar outbreaks in the past, but those restaurants did not have consecutive strings of outbreaks, nor did it happen during a time when social media allowed news to spread quickly. As a result, sales dropped off a cliff and the stock has declined by 45% since the initial reports. For those who hold very strong beliefs on the future of a company, the outbreaks serve as a stark reminder that the future for any company is never certain.

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Chipotle: 4Q Guidance Disappoints Investors

Chipotle reported 3Q earnings after market close, and the pre-market is indicating an opening price down 8%. The company reported 3Q EPS of $4.59, which fell slightly short of consensus estimates of $4.62. Results were short largely due to lower-than-expected operating margins. However, the investor focus was primarily on management's commentary on sales trends.

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