Chipotle (CMG) Stock Surges, CDC: E.Coli Outbreak Officially Over

TheStreet's Jim Cramer talks about what to expect when the burrito maker reports its quarterly results tomorrow. 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)  shares are jumping 4.2% to $472.01 on Monday afternoon as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declares that the E. coli outbreak linked to the company's restaurants appears to be over, according to CNBC.com.

This declaration means the agency has closed its investigation. Officials however, have not been able to find the exact cause of the contamination. 

So far, over 50 customers have fallen ill from the outbreak after eating at restaurants in nine states. This started in October, and more cases linked to E.coli were reported in November. Adding to this, a norovirus outbreak in Boston left 140 people sick. 

Consequently, the burrito maker has been grappling with slumping sales and declining stock price. 

Earlier this morning, Chipotle got a vote of confidence from analysts at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch who upgraded the company to "neutral" from "underperform," and increased their price target to $475 from $425, citing optimistic customer survey results.

Customers could have a "willingness to return to the brand," given a passage of time with no additional food issues, a yet-to-be-issued "all-clear" report from the CDC, and greater confidence that Chipotle's changes in food handling will be effective. 

All of this comes ahead of the company's fourth quarter fiscal 2015 financial results due out tomorrow after the markets close. Analysts are expecting $1.86 a share on revenue of $1.01 billion. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings currently has a "Hold" rating on the stock with a letter grade of C+. 

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CMG

CMG Chart CMG data by YCharts

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