Panera Versus Chipotle: Here’s What to Expect After the Bell

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Panera (NASDAQ:PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) will both report their respective fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings after the bell on Tuesday. The two companies are often thrown together as iconic competitors within the same market, and there has been a lot of coverage given to their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Side by side, Chipotle is the more expensive company with a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 36.15, compared to Panera’s 30.29. Chipotle has a forward P/E of 30.30, while Panera clocks in at 23.46. Chipotle has seen negative year-over-year movement on the stock chart, but has stronger margins and more operating cash flow than Panera. On the other hand, Panera’s stock price has increased 375 percent over the past five years, and has stronger earnings growth than Chipotle.

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Earnings usually act as a strong catalyst for a company’s stock price, so let’s take a look at where each stands heading into tonight’s reports…

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