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William Blair Raises Its Estimates For Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG)

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) has rallied around 1% in the pre-market after Sharon Zackfia of William Blair increased her first quarter earnings and sales estimate for the burrito chain. Due to her channel check research, Zackfia estimates that Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)’s same-store sales will rise by between 17% and 18% for Q1, versus the Street’s estimate of 14%. The analyst also thinks Chipotle’s EPS will come in at $1.33, well above the average analyst estimate of $1.26 per share. William Blair has an ‘Outperform’ recommendation on the stock.

If her estimates are true, many long term investors would be happy as it would signify that the burrito chain is slowly but surely recovering consumer trust again. Chipotle previously lost some trust after a spate of food safety incidents in the years prior.

What Does The Smart Money Sentiment Say?

At Insider Monkey, we’ve developed an investment strategy that has delivered market-beating returns over the past 12 months. Our strategy identifies the 100 best-performing funds of the previous quarter from among the collection of 700+ successful funds that we track in our database, which we accomplish using our returns methodology. We then study the portfolios of those 100 funds using the latest 13F data to uncover the 30 most popular mid-cap stocks (market caps of between $1 billion and $10 billion) among them to hold until the next filing period. This strategy delivered 39.7% gains over the past 12 months and outperformed the 24.1% gain enjoyed by the S&P 500 ETFs. Our enhanced small-cap hedge fund strategy returned more than 45% over the last 12 months and outperformed SPY by more than 30 percentage points over the last 4.5 years (see details here).

In terms of elite fund sentiment, fewer smart money funds owned Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) in the fourth quarter, but they owned more of the stock. Of the 742 elite funds we track, 36 funds owned $2.8 billion of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) and accounted for 25.60% of the float on December 31, versus 41 funds and $1.6 billion respectively on September 30. Of the burrito chain’s holders, the most notable is Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square, who is working behind the scenes to unlock value in the venerable company.

The Bottom Line

Wall Street is slowly buying into the Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) recovery as more encouraging data points come to light. For those of you interested, check out this article on ’16 Healthiest Fast Food Menu Items and Restaurants’.

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