Chipotle, Ruby Tuesday: Restaurant Winners & Losers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks in the restaurant sector were in focus Thursday with Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG) and Ruby Tuesday ( CMG) leading the gainers thanks to favorable broker action and a strong earnings report.

Chipotle Mexican Grill shares jumped 2.6% to $226.80 ahead of midday after analysts from Piper Jaffray upgraded their rating on the fast-casual chain to overweight, from neutral. The firm had a $265 price target on Chipotle shares.

Piper Jaffray was more bearish on casual dining chain BJ's Restaurants ( BJRI), downgrading the stock to neutral, from overweight, maintaining a $32 price target.

>>10 Restaurant Stock Winners of 2010

In late December Barron's forecast that Chipotle along with dining peers BJ's Restaurants, Panera Bread ( PNRA) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ( RRGB) could fall by up to 20%.

BJ's shares shed 0.2% to $33.60 in late-morning trading while Panera gained 1.2% to $101.73. Red Robin added 4.3% to $21.60.

Starbucks ( SBUX) lost 1% to $32.01 a day after the coffee shop chain unveiled a new logo to mixed consumer reaction.

Ruby Tuesday ( RT) shares surged 7.3% to $15.03 after it posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, topping estimates by more than 40%.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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