Why Brinker International (EAT) Popped on Wednesday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Brinker International (EAT) spiked over Wednesday's session after posting healthy second-quarter results. Despite concerns wintry December weather would depress sales, the Chili's owner managed to exceed analyst expectations.

The fast food conglomerate reported a 0.8% increase in comparable restaurant sales over the December-ended quarter with both Chili's and Maggiano's enjoying positive growth.

The Dallas-based business recorded net income of 59 cents a share, beating consensus by a penny according to Yahoo! Finance estimates. Revenue of $704.39 million was 2.1% higher than the year-ago quarter and exceeded expectations by $5.2 million.

"We remain encouraged about the trajectory of our business as results from this past quarter demonstrate our steady progress of driving top-line sales, while increasing value for our shareholders," said CEO Wyman Roberts in a statement.

By late afternoon, shares had climbed 6.2% to $49.60, and 3.2 million shares had changed hands, nearly four times its three-month average daily trading volume.

TheStreet Ratings team rates BRINKER INTL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate BRINKER INTL INC (EAT) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."