Pizza Hut continued to struggle in the quarter, and comparable sales and profits both came in below expectations. As you can see from the chart below, most of the stock's decline came at the end of the month after the third-quarter earnings report.
Yum! Brands' numbers weren't terrible by any means, but they weren't enough to keep up with the market's lofty expectations. Comparable sales increased 3%, held down by flat growth at Pizza Hut, and were slightly below estimates of 3.3%.
Overall revenue fell 4%, to $1.34 billion, slightly below expectations, as the company continues to refranchise restaurants. Core operating profit improved 6%, but Yum! took a $60 million writedown, or $0.15 per share, on its Grubhub investment. This was a reflection of the recent plunge in the delivery app's stock as it has struggled to fend off competition.
As a result of the change in Grubhub's valuation from 2018 to this year, Yum's adjusted earnings per share fell from $1.04 to $0.80 -- worse than the analyst consensus of $0.94.
Outgoing CEO Greg Creed sounded satisfied with the results, saying, "Following a very strong first half of 2019 and in line with our expectations, third-quarter results were consistent with our long-term growth model."
Coming into the report, Yum's stock had already gained nearly 30% over the last year. It looks a bit pricey for a restaurant stock, as it now trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.5.
The Grubhub headwinds are temporary, but even with solid growth and aggressive restaurant expansion around the world, the stock seemed due for a pullback, given its high price.