Jack in the Box expects to post fiscal 2012 net profit of US$1.28/share to US$1.50/share, excluding restructuring charges; analysts expect net profit of US$1.35/share, according to poll

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

SAN DIEGO , May 17, 2012 () – Shares of Jack in the Box Inc. rose Thursday, a day after the fast food chain issued a strong profit prediction for the full year.

THE SPARK: The San Diego-based company said after Wednesday's closing bell that it expects to post a fiscal 2012 profit of $1.28 to $1.50 per share, excluding restructuring charges.

Analysts, on average, expect a profit of $1.35 per share, according to a FactSet poll.

THE BIG PICTURE: The guidance, which was issued along with strong second-quarter results, also projected an increase in revenue at stores open at least a year of between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent at both the company's namesake restaurants and Qdoba restaurants.

For the quarter ended April 15, Jack in the Box earned $21.6 million, or 48 cents per share, up from $6.8 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The recent quarter's results were boosted by $14.1 million, or 21 cents per share, in gains on the sale of 37 company-operated restaurants to franchisees. The results also included 2 cents per share in restructuring charges, the company said.

Revenue was relatively flat at $506.6 million compared with $505.1 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 32 cents per share on $502.8 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.

THE ANALYSIS: Cowen & Co. analyst Paul Westra backed his "Neutral" rating for the company, saying that its operating earnings came in significantly better than he expected.

"We continue to expect Jack in the Box shares to trade in-line with the market over the next 12 months," Westra wrote in a note to investors.

THE SHARES: Up $1.31, or 5.8 percent, to $23.76 in heavy afternoon trading, after peaking at $23.98 earlier in the day and coming close to their 52-week high of $24.59.

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