There will be no egg (drop soup) on P.F. Chang's
Earnings per share clocked in at $0.34 for the period. That was flat with last year's showing but well ahead of the $0.26 Wall Street was targeting.
Sure, the company was able to prop up its profits on a per-share basis by buying back shares over the past year. Analysts knew all about that, yet their models still spat out lower projections.
The rest of the income statement is a mixed bag. Operating margins contracted for the quarter, even though overall operating income improved, thanks to an 18% gain on the top line.
P.F. Chang's continues to expand aggressively -- but its original concept isn't the real driver. It will open twice as many Pei Wei diners this year as it does its continentally influenced P.F. Chang's China Bistro eateries.
The busy slate of new openings will find the company's revenue growth rate accelerating in 2007. It expects to grow its top line by 19% this year, a healthy improvement over 2006's 16% advance. Earnings should clock in 17% higher, at $1.45 a share.
The stock opened 11% higher this morning, so it's clear that the market likes the company's prospects here -- enough to pay a hefty 30 times forward earnings, even. Investors often have to pay up to cash in on a proven chain early in its growth trajectory, but P.F. Chang's is pricey even on that level. Texas Roadhouse
So proceed carefully. It's your fortune, cookie.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of P.F. Chang's and really wants to see how its third concept -- specializing in Japanese eats -- will pan out. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.