Wells Fargo analysts changed their rating for Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) from Overweight to Equal Weight, adjusting the price target from $150.00 down to $135.00.

The analysts explained that the rationale for the downgrade is based on the assessment that the optimistic outlook for 2023, which was based on accelerating comparable sales, unit growth, and improving margins, has mostly materialized. Looking ahead to 2024, they anticipate challenges due to a comparatively high benchmark set by the previous year’s performance, recent indicators of slowing momentum, and a less promising set of catalysts for 2024.

Despite acknowledging Yum! Brands’ strong long-term growth drivers, the analysts foresee a potential slowdown in customer traffic, a moderation in pricing gains, and less likelihood of outperforming the company’s 8% profit algorithm in 2024. Their earnings per share estimate for 2024 is slightly below the consensus, partly due to Yum! Brands’ decision to halt share buybacks as it focuses on debt repayment.

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