Investors are looking at shares of Yum China Holdings Inc. (YUMC) as finger-licking good.
Yum China's stock jumped more than 10% Friday after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations - driven in large part by robust same-store sales at the company's KFC restaurant chains.
The owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell reported fourth-quarter net income of $74 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with losses of $107 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Adjusted for changes to the U.S. tax code and acquisition costs, earnings were 12 cents a share.
Revenue rose 2% to $1.91 billion from $1.87 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $1.92 billion.
Yum China CEO Joey Wat pointed to stronger same-store sales during the quarter, helped by accelerated new store openings and robust performance at KFC, which delivered 3% same-store sales growth and 9% system sales growth during the quarter.
"Although Pizza Hut's sales remained soft, we are pleased to see same-store traffic growth of 1% and positive trends in customer feedback," she said, adding that "strong sales growth and diligent cost controls across all aspects of our business led to a significant increase in operating profit" during the quarter.
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