Late Tuesday night (actually, technically, early Wednesday morning), Democrats and Republicans in the Senate finally hammered out what looks to be a $2 trillion stimulus deal to counteract the effects of coronavirus that looks like it has a chance of passing.
Not all the details have been made public yet, the bill hasn't been voted on or approved yet, and it's not at all certain whether the House of Representatives will approve it even if the Senate does, but...progress of a sort seems to have been achieved.
And if all of the above sounds a bit uncertain, well, maybe that explains why investors in restaurant stocks are so uncertain how to react to it.
As of 11:55 a.m. EDT, shares of BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ:BJRI) are up 16.3%, while Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has gone from a gain of nearly 5% to a loss of 2%. Texas Roadhouse (NASDAQ:TXRH) shares, meanwhile, are all over the map. Up more than 10% at one point this morning and down more than 5% at another, they're currently treading water with a gain of just 0.3%.
After all, even the limited details we have on the stimulus bill currently, such as the fact that it will provide $350 billion in loans to restaurants and other small businesses to help them maintain payroll and give $1,200 to every adult American to help maintain consumer spending, sound pretty positive for restaurant stocks. Perhaps this explains why BJ's Restaurants stock in particular is rebounding after its stock was beaten up earlier in the week after suspending its dividend.
It doesn't explain, however, why Texas Roadhouse is getting no real lift by an analyst upgrade from underperform to buy at Gordon Haskett today.
Nor does it explain why Chipotle stock would be down today, when the other chains' stocks are up. Regarding Chipotle, there's been no specific news whatsoever today.
Investors, it seems, don't know precisely what to make of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Perhaps once it's actually been finalized, officially passed by the Senate and approved by House -- so that we know precisely what's in it -- we'll be better able to make heads or tails of the situation.