BUZZ-El Pollo Loco does the funky chicken ahead of Q2 report

Thu Aug 4, 2016 1:19pm EDT
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** Shares of El Pollo Loco Holdings do the funky chicken ahead of qtrly report after the bell

** LOCO dances 1 pct higher at the open, then falls as much as 2.8 pct, before recovering to trade flat

** The Mexican-inspired chicken chain next eatery to report its results in what has been a mixed earnings season for restaurant operators

** Highly competitive U.S. restaurant industry now faces specter of higher costs due to minimum wage hikes in some regions

** Habit Restaurant and Papa Murphy's Holdings touched record lows today after posting weak reports late on Wednesday

** However, Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King and Tim Horton, rose 1.4 pct after posting better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower costs

** Shares of LOCO are up 3 pct in 2016; recently traded at 17.7x expected earnings, below its 2-yr avg of 27x

** Consensus estimates for LOCO's Q2: adj EPS of 18 cents, while rev expected to rise 8 pct yr/yr to $96.7 mln (Thomson Reuters data)