Major benchmarks finished in the green on the last trading day of July, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow all posting a gain for the month.
Texas Roadhouse's strong quarter wasn't enough
Shares of Texas Roadhouse fell as much as 12% early in the session, then partially recovered to close down 4.9% after the steak-centric restaurant chain posted disappointing second-quarter results.
That's not to say Texas Roadhouse's performance looked bad at first glance. Quarterly revenue grew 11.% year over year to $629.2 million, including same-restaurant sales growth of 5.7% and 3.9% at company-owned and domestic franchises, respectively. On the bottom line, net income grew 17.7% to $44.2 million, and earnings per share rose 16.9% to $0.62.
But analysts, on average, were looking for higher earnings of $0.67 per share.
Still, CEO Kent Taylor called it a "strong" quarter, adding that they're "pleased with the consistency of our traffic gains this year and the continued strength headed into the third quarter."
AK Steel misses expectations
AK Steel stock plunged 13.6% in the wake of the steelmaker's second-quarter results. Quarterly revenue grew 12% year over year to $1.747 billion, which translated into net income of $56.6 million, or $0.18 per diluted share. Wall Street was modeling earnings of $0.20 per share on roughly the same revenue.
CEO Roger Newport noted the company generated "meaningful earnings and free cash flow" even as it faced unusual operational events during the quarter, including a fire at one of its temper mills and a power outage caused by a lightning strike at its Butler Works plant in western Pennsylvania.
"We expect that the continued strong business environment will result in improved performance in the second half of 2018 compared to the first half and position us well for resetting a majority of our annual contracts later this year," Newport added.
Chipotle's latest food-safety scare
Finally, shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill lost 6.8% after the fast-casual restaurant chain temporarily closed one of its Ohio locations following reports of customer illnesses.
To be fair, this appears to be an isolated issue. Chipotle, for its part, said that a local health official informed the company of two customer complaints of illness.
"We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution yesterday," a Chipotle spokesperson stated. "We are working with the local health department and we plan to reopen this restaurant today."
Chipotle investors are already on edge following multiple food-borne illness scares at the chain in recent years. Just last week, however, shares climbed after the company's second-quarter results handily beat analysts' estimates and offered hope that Chipotle's turnaround was firmly on track.
Time will tell whether Chipotle can sustain that momentum. But however small, this incident will certainly do it no favors to that end.