Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN), parent company of restaurant brands Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, among others, won two major analyst upgrades today and is up approximately 10% in morning trading. The bigger of the two upgrades, from Deutsche Bank, hikes the financial institution's price target for Bloomin' from $15 to $20 per share, while upgrading the stock's rating to buy from the previous hold.

According to Street Insider, Brian Muller of Deutsche Bank explained the upgrade in a research note, saying, "we believe that there is still ~40% upside over the next 12 to 18 months in a relatively conservative base case, and more than that in a bull case that appears to us to have a reasonable probability of occurring given some time and patience."

An Outback Steakhouse restaurant.

Image source: Bloomin' Brands.

Muller also observed Bloomin' hasn't rebounded in tune with the general recovery, adding, "we see perhaps underappreciated potential for leverage to get to a much more comfortable place, fairly quickly."

Deutsche Bank wasn't the only analyst to weigh in with a positive outlook on Bloomin's near-term prospects. Brian Vaccaro of multinational investment bank Raymond James Financial also cited the company's unrealized potential during the recovery as grounds for hiking its rating from outperform to strong buy, as reported by Seeking Alpha and others. "Strong buy" is Raymond James' highest rating, applied by the bank to those stocks its expects "to appreciate, produce a total return of at least 15%, and outperform the S&P 500 over the next six to 12 months."

Much of the restaurant sector, particularly those companies heavily reliant on dine-in facilities, has gotten a lift in recent days following the announced development of a $5, 15-minute test for COVID-19

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