The stock market finally gave investors a decent rebound on Tuesday, sending the Dow and S&P 500 up about three-quarters of a percent on the day. Oil prices continued to slump toward the $30 per barrel level, but optimism in a number of other areas of the stock market helped to pull the broader indexes higher. Among the best performers Tuesday were Del Taco Restaurants (NASDAQ:TACO), Apollo Education Group (NASDAQ:APOL), and Brinker's International (NYSE:EAT).
Del Taco Restaurants climbed 11% after the fast-food taco chain reported preliminary results for its fourth quarter. Comparable-restaurant sales climbed 5.8%, and Del Taco updated its guidance for the full fiscal year to an increase of 6.3% in comps. Investors were also happy with the company's 2016 guidance, even though Del Taco sees comps growth slowing to 2.5% to 4.5% this year. Despite higher labor costs related to an increase in the minimum wage in California, Del Taco expects solid bottom-line results that shareholders celebrated.
With the stock having fallen recently to levels last seen in early 2014, investors were happy with any signs of a better future for Del Taco.
Apollo Education Group jumped 16% on reports that unrelated investment company Apollo Global Management was considering buying the beleaguered for-profit education specialist. Apollo Education has faced a number of long-term challenges, including falling enrollments and profits, investigations from numerous regulatory bodies, and the possibility of lost financial aid eligibility. Some commentators believe a sale could bring as much as $1 billion for Apollo Education shareholders, but even the gains implied by that price wouldn't do much to give long-term investors back their extensive losses over the past year.
Finally, Brinker's International gained 8%. The company said late yesterday that its Chili's Grill & Bar unit would expand its ability to accept online orders through its e-commerce channel, giving customers a better digital experience for smartphone and tablet users as well as those ordering by PC. By integrating the platform into Chili's loyalty program, the restaurant chain hopes to drive repeat business and make it easier for those on the go to order take-out food.
As competing restaurant chains work on their digital ordering systems in order to make the customer experience as smooth as possible, Brinker's is only keeping up with the times, but Chili's has a history of using technology to give its dining-room patrons access to tabletop tablets for facilitating orders and payment. Brinker's hopes the move will fit with customers' busy lifestyles, and investors think fostering a closer relationship with to-go customers will boost the restaurant chain's business.