Shares of Brinker International Inc. fell 6 percent Wednesday, and another 5.9 percent or $1.85, to $29.75, in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange after two analysts downgraded the stock and the company settled lawsuits with some of the diners who developed salmonella poisoning after eating at one of its Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants.
Associated Press out of Dallas reported that Prudential and CIBC World Markets dropped Brinker, which also owns the Macaroni Grill and On the Border chains, from neutral to "underweight" or "underperform." Brinker on Wednesday reported a 60 percent jump in profit for the April-June quarter but warned that earnings in the fiscal year that began in July would fall short of expectations.
Terms were not disclosed for the settlement with 49 customers who became ill after eating at a Chili’s near Chicago. The Seattle-based law firm of Marler Clark LLP, which specializes in cases involving food-borne illness, filed lawsuits on behalf of seven customers. How ever, in the settlement agreement it also represented 42 others who could have joined a class-action suit against the restaurant company.