Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became an instant classic when it hit the big screen with its artful and almost dance-like portrayal of kung fu. Crouching Chickens, Hidden Dragon Breath is the version of high-flying P.F. Chang's China Bistro
Motley Fool writers have sounded the gong on this investment for some time now, warning investors that its steep valuation leaves little room for error. So what was so unsavory about the latest results?
Strong same-store sales, or comps, were once considered the wall of this Chinese restaurant dynasty, but it appears that these defenses are no longer impenetrable. According to the company, recent trends suggest that fiscal 2005 comps will actually decrease by 3%, compared with the expectation of a 1.5% increase.
This news blindsided investors, considering that the latest second-quarter sales report offered no hint of a slowdown. And P.F. Chang's did little to appease shareholder concerns, since the company did not provide a commentary on the decline. Instead, by projecting fiscal 2006 comps to grow by 1% to 2%, the company seemed to imply that the shrinking comps should be a temporary anomaly.
Net sales increased 16.8% to $198.1 million, but operating margins declined to 7.8%, compared with 8.6% from a year ago. This combination grew earnings modestly by 10.2% to $9.3 million.
Revised earnings, which reduced its previous estimate of $1.52 per share down to $1.45, have investors running for the exit. Even after the drop to its stock, the company still trades at a spicy 39 times forward earnings. This is an awfully rich stock for an enterprise showing signs of slowing down.
What is an investor to do? Be slow to buy. With weakness for the company being anticipated for the remainder of the year, the market will present plenty of opportunities to buy shares of P.F. Chang's. If the company does interest you, keep close tabs on it over the coming weeks, since a good entry price could turn this Crouching Chicken into a Crouching Tiger of an investment.
Lost your appetite for P.F. Chang's? Then check out these Foolish delights:
(NASDAQ:CAKE)continues serving sweet results.
- And for you fast-food eaters, McDonald's
(NYSE:MCD)is changing its looks.
Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.