UBS was one of Wendy's few bulls until Friday, when it downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and dropped its price target to $5.50 from $6.30. The firm also cut its earnings estimate for fiscal 2012 to 23 cents a share from 30 cents a share, citing slowing sales momentum from the rollout of the company's W burger and higher beef costs. UBS thinks Wendy's may have introduced its next new burger offering a bit too soon.
"We believe that Wendy's Dave's Hot n Juicy burgers had the advertising to drive trial and the quality to warrant repeat purchase," the firm said. "However, we wonder if the introduction of the W so soon after the Hot n Juicy seems to have created confusion and trade down. While we had hoped that the W might cause trade up from the $0.99 menu, it appears to be cannibalizing premium burgers."
Still, UBS is bullish on Brolick taking over as CEO, saying his leadership bodes well for the long term.
"We believe that new CEO Emil Brolick will ultimately steer Wendy's to success, and we look forward to hearing about his vision and plans at the analyst day on Monday," the firm said. "We expect to hear about premium innovation and reimaging testing."Check out TheStreet's quote page for Wendy's International for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more. Early reports are also due from Banco Santander (STD), Canon (CAJ), Gannett (GCI), Ryanair Holdings (RYAAY), Thomas & Betts (TNB), and Wolverine World Wide (WWW). The late roster features Actuate (BIRT), Baidu.com (BIDU), Integrated Device Technology (IDTI), McKesson (MCK), and Rent-A-Center (RCII). Monday's economic calendar is pretty light with just personal income and spending for December at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in personal income and a 0.1% rise in personal spending, according to Briefing.com. Credit Suisse is in line with the consensus on income but thinks spending could be a bit soft. "We expect nominal consumer spending to be flat, with an expected rise in service spending offset by declines in control group retail sales, auto sales, and gas prices," the firm said. "Inflation should be flat on the month, so real spending should also be unchanged."
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