AP News

Jack in the Box's stock extends rally


NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Jack in the Box Inc. extended their rally Friday, reaching their highest price in almost six years.

The stock has advanced about 42 percent since mid-November, when Jack in the Box reported its results for the September quarter. Shares of Jack in the Box rose 13 cents to $35.60 Friday. Earlier the shares peaked at $36, their highest price since April 30, 2007.

Shares reached an all-time high of $39.77 in May 2007.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Christopher O'Cull repeated a "Buy" rating on the stock Friday and raised his price target to $42 per share from $40. O'Cull said the San Diego company has improved its operations and should reach the high end of its net income guidance for the current fiscal year. Jack in the Box said in February that it expected to earn $1.48 to $1.63 per share for the year, about 3 cents per share above its previous estimates.

FactSet says analysts are expecting $1.61 per share on average. Before the company updated its guidance they expected $1.55 per share.

O'Cull raised his fiscal 2013 net income estimate to $1.60 per share from $1.57 per share. He said restaurant chains reported lower customer traffic in February and some improvement in March, but he thinks Jack in the Box is in better shape than its competitors.

"In our opinion, Jack in the Box is better equipped to handle a choppy consumer spending environment," he wrote, noting that the brand is second in terms of market share in nine of its 10 largest markets, which represent 70 percent of sales.


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