Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) Shares Continue Free Fall – Can Things Get Any Worse?

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Just when investors thought that the E. coli scare had finally come to an end, things have taken a turn for the worse. Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) are trading down another 1.29% in the pre-market this morning after JPMorgan has downgraded the stock from Overweight to Neutral, and subsequently reduced their target price from $630 to $555. This move came after new reports indicate that the E. coli scare likely is not over for the Mexican fast food restaurant.

Yesterday the CDC found a rare DNA fingerprint of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in three different states. Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) are down considerably from just 10 weeks ago when shares topped $750. It will be interesting to see if shares continue lower and if they will breach the $500 level today or later this week. The stock decreased 0.06% or $0.3 during the last trading session, hitting $521.71. Approximately 32,711 shares traded hands. CMG shares have declined 18.02% since May 19, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 15.76%.

From a total of 26 analysts covering Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE:CMG) stock, 12 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 13 a “Hold”. This means that 46% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $850 while the lowest target price is $495. The mean of all analyst targets is $637.05 which is 22.11% above today’s ($521.71) stock price. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was the topic of 46 analyst reports since July 22, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Argus Research downgraded shares on December 11 to a “Hold” rating. Wedbush maintained shares with a”Neutral” rating and a $500 target share price in their report from a December 7. Raymond James maintained CMG stock in a recent report from December 7 with a “Market Perform” rating. Cowen & Co downgraded the rating on December 7. Cowen & Co has a “Market Perform” rating and a $515 price target on shares. Finally, Oppenheimer maintained the stock with a “Outperform” rating in a report they issued on a December 7.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.04, from 0.96 in 2015Q2. The ratio improved, as 62 funds sold all their Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. shares they owned while 178 reduced their positions. 59 funds bought stakes while 181 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 40.13 million shares which is 40.64% more than the previous share count of 28.53 million in 2015Q2.

Csat Investment Advisory L.P. holds 5.74% of its total portfolio in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., equating to 9,078 shares. Windward Capital Management Co Ca owns 26,023 shares representing 5.11% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Cim Llc has 4.82% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 13,258 shares. The New Jersey-based Hhr Asset Management Llc has a total of 4.66% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Maryland Capital Management, a Maryland-based fund reported 34,524 shares owned.

Since March 17, 2015, the stock had 0 insider buys, and 11 sales for a total of $41.52 million in net activity. Charlesworth John S sold 2,000 shares worth $1.50 million. Crumpacker Mark sold 998 shares worth $729,817. Hartung Jack sold 2,485 shares worth $1.84M. Friedman Darlene J sold 1,379 shares worth $1.01M. The insider Ells Steve sold 10,090 shares worth $6.98M.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. develops and operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, which serve a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads. The company has a market cap of $16.87 billion. The Firm operates 1,755 restaurants in the United States, seven in Canada, six in England, three in France, and one in Germany. It has 31.12 P/E ratio. The Company’s restaurants also include nine ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants.

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