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MarketWatch First Take: Wendy’s stock climbs on upbeat fourth-quarter guidance, dividend hike

Wendy’s Co. shares rose 5% Friday, buoyed by upbeat fourth-quarter guidance and a dividend raise.

The fast-food company reported preliminary fourth-quarter results early Friday, with revenue expected to be $536.5 million, up from $473.2 million in the year-ago quarter and above the FactSet consensus of $518 million. Wendy’s
WEN,
+5.14%

expects global same-store sales to climb 6.4%. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for a same-store sales increase of 4.8%.

“During the year, global same-restaurant sales reached double digits on a two-year basis for the second consecutive year, Company restaurant margins expanded by almost 300 basis points in the fourth quarter versus the first quarter, and we opened over 275 restaurants across the globe,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said in a statement.

Also read: Wendy’s stock up premarket after upbeat guidance, doubling of quarterly dividend

Wendy’s board of directors also doubled the company’s quarterly dividend to 25 cents a share and approved a new $500 million share-repurchase authorization. The dividend will be payable March 15 to shareholders of record as of March 1.

The company’s stock has fallen 3.1% in the last 12 months, compared with the S&P 500’s
SPX,
-0.24%

decline of 14.7%.

Of 29 analysts surveyed by FactSet, 13 have an overweight or buy rating, 15 have a hold rating and one has an underweight rating.

Additional reporting by Ciara Linnane.

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