Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) (TSE:QSR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Thursday, January 4th.

According to Zacks, “Restaurant Brands’ shares have outpaced its industry over the past year. Moreover, 2017 and 2018 earnings estimates have gone up over the past two months, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the stock. Various sales-boosting initiatives like improving services, reimaging restaurants, menu innovation along with continued expansion should drive the top line. In fact, the company believes that there is opportunity to grow both the Tim Hortons and Burger King brands across the world. The acquisition of Popeye’s also bodes well as it adds a solid brand to its portfolio, which should further ramp up unit growth and aid in reducing costs. The company aims to continue focusing on guest satisfaction and franchisee profitability. However, rising costs along with negative currency translation might dent the company’s profitability, while a soft consumer spending environment could keep comps under pressure.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of Restaurant Brands International in a research report on Monday, December 11th. They issued an outperform rating and a $75.00 price target on the stock. Citigroup boosted their target price on shares of Restaurant Brands International from $71.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, November 6th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price target on shares of Restaurant Brands International from $60.00 to $68.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price target on shares of Restaurant Brands International from $69.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Monday, October 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Oppenheimer lifted their price target on shares of Restaurant Brands International from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $70.00.

Restaurant Brands International (QSR) opened at $60.48 on Thursday. Restaurant Brands International has a 52-week low of $48.41 and a 52-week high of $68.89. The firm has a market cap of $14,643.89, a P/E ratio of 32.62, a P/E/G ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.69. The company has a current ratio of 3.45, a quick ratio of 3.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.70.

In other news, EVP Jose E. Cil sold 39,409 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.01, for a total value of $2,601,388.09. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 343,496 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $22,674,170.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Paul J. Fribourg purchased 384,024 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $65.10 per share, for a total transaction of $24,999,962.40. Following the purchase, the director now owns 165,848 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,796,704.80. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 4,347,584 shares of company stock valued at $281,524,268 over the last quarter. 3.05% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of QSR. Krilogy Financial LLC raised its stake in Restaurant Brands International by 2,938.5% in the 3rd quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 1,975 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $126,000 after acquiring an additional 1,910 shares during the period. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new position in Restaurant Brands International during the 4th quarter worth $129,000. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its position in Restaurant Brands International by 10.2% during the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,165 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $135,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Commonwealth Bank of Australia increased its position in Restaurant Brands International by 9.0% during the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 3,167 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $197,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the period. Finally, YHB Investment Advisors Inc. bought a new position in Restaurant Brands International during the 4th quarter worth $208,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.94% of the company’s stock.

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About Restaurant Brands International

Restaurant Brands International Inc is a quick service restaurant (QSR) company. The Company had over 20,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and the United States territories, as of December 31, 2016. It operates through two segments: Tim Hortons (TH) and Burger King (BK). Tim Hortons restaurants are quick service restaurants with a menu that includes blend coffee, tea, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks, baked goods, including donuts, Timbits, bagels, muffins, cookies and pastries, grilled paninis, classic sandwiches, wraps and soups, among others.

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