Chipotle shares are too expensive; buy them.
That may sound like confusing advice, but that's what Wall Street analysts, as a group, are advising investors. The mean analyst rating is "outperform," but the mean target price on the stock is $495.04, according to FactSet. That's almost $9 below Thursday's closing price, and 2.1 percent below the stocks' average price on the dates those reports were issued.
In some ways, this is a function of how difficult the stock is to analyze.
Chipotle is dealing with apparent consumer reticence following widespread E. coli outbreaks. The company has also dealt with bouts of norovirus, most recently in Massachusetts, where a Chipotle store was briefly closed after a few employees fell sick with what appeared to be the contagious illness.
In response to the health scares, Chipotle sales have fallen precipitously, as has the stock. Recently, Wells Fargo analyst Jeff Farmer has said he sees signs of a sales rebound after the company's free burrito promotion, although it is fair to say that the jury remains out.