Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG - Get Report) got a positive review from an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus on Friday after he reiterated his hold rating on the Mexican food chain's stock and lifted his 12-month price target to $700 from $500.
In a note to clients, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris O'Cull said he expects fourth-quarter momentum will continue into the first quarter and beyond as the company further distances itself from a series of hygiene-related lapses that took a bite out of earnings, and as it focuses on continuing improvement in sales, particularly on the digital ordering and delivery side.
"Many of the factors benefiting December [same-restaurant-sales] performance should have been amplified in 1Q19, with greater spend to support another new advertising campaign and expansion of digital ordering and delivery," O'Cull said.
Been on a roll, where you been? pic.twitter.com/PeCSJrUyEQ— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) April 2, 2019
The proverbial four-star review stands in stark contrast to how analysts and investors viewed the burrito and taco specialist a year ago amid an ongoing exodus of customers following an outbreak of E. coli and Salmonella that sickened 50 people in late 2015.
At the time, Chipotle shares traded are $275.
Shares of Chipotle ended the trading day Thursday at $703.38, a jump of more than 75% since then. They began the trading day Friday up $3.76 at $706.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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