were down about 3% despite the company posting third-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts' forecasts and strong sales.
The company also reaffirmed its expected 2002 earnings growth of 15% to 18% and announced it will invest $12 million in an Italian food restaurant chain.
Wendy's stock, which is up 16% year to date in contrast to the S&P 500's 14% drop, was apparently priced for more and it fell $1.23 to $33.07 in midday trading.
The company earned $60.9 million, or 52 cents a share, matching analysts' estimates, and compared with $52.4 million, or 44 cents a share, a year ago.
Revenue was $722 million, compared with $610.4 million last year. Wendy's said sales in restaurants open at least a year increased 5%.
Looking to full-year 2002, the company expects to earn between $1.90 and $1.95 a share, in line with analysts' consensus of $1.93 a share.
The company said it will also invest $12 million in the Northern California-based Pasta Pomodoro restaurant chain for a 25% stake. Pasta Pomodoro runs 24 restaurants.
Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's also owns the Tim Horton and the Baja Fresh Mexican Grill restaurant chains.