Slower same-store sales growth from Domino's Pizza Inc <DPZ.N> and the high expectations of investors who have driven its stock 10 percent higher in the past month pushed shares in the pizza chain lower on Thursday.
Domino's third quarter results showed profit rising to $56.4 million, or $1.18 per share, from $47.2 million a year earlier.
But while, excluding items, that put profit at $1.27 per share, above Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S market consensus measure of $1.22, analysts said the market had been looking for more to continue this year's 30 percent rally in the stock.
The company's UK version <DOM.L> had stirred expectations of strong results by reporting a pick up in third-quarter sales on Tuesday, driven by online orders.
"I think there was growing expectations of a strong quarter, particularly in light of the much-better-than-expected results reported ... by the UK-based master franchisee," Maxim Group analyst Stephen Anderson said.
Domino's shares fell by more than 3 percent soon after Wall Street opened on Thursday, having fallen as much as 6 percent in pre-market trade.
"We believe these results were in-line to modestly below elevated buy side expectations (with Domino’s a victim of their own success), pressuring the shares which are at close to peak valuations," Barclays analyst Jeffrey Bernstein said in a note.
Comparable stores growth at the company's own restaurants fell to 8.4 percent from 13.8 percent a year earlier, although that was above the 6.6 percent rise expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.
Domino's shares have gained 31.3 percent this year, including a 10 percent jump in the past month, as the company outperformed rivals such as Yum Brands' <YUM.N> Pizza Hut.
Helped by the scale and straightforward delivery model, Domino's has managed to stay ahead of the competition partly by using technologies such as digital wallets and apps for smartphones and smartwatches that help customers place and pay for orders quickly.
Revenue in its supply chain business, through which it supplies ingredients and machinery to franchisees, rose 13.3 percent to $402.1 million. Supply chain revenue accounted for 62.5 percent of the company's revenue in the quarter.
"In some ways, DPZ is a victim of its own success, as tremendous sales and margin performance makes it challenging to see where (the) upside will emerge going forward," Credit Suisse analyst Jason West wrote in a pre-earnings note.
Total revenue rose 13.6 percent to $643.6 million, above the average analyst estimate of $627.4 million. REUTERS