INVESTORS turned cautious on Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) last week after the release of its first-quarter earnings report, as they assess expansion plans abroad in the coming quarters amid slow domestic vaccine rollout.

A total of 2.63 million JFC shares were traded last week worth P448.81 million, data from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) showed.

The homegrown fastfood giant closed at P168 apiece on Friday, down by 4.4% from the previous week’s closing. Year to date, the stock fell by 13.6%.

“JFC’s movement was mainly due to positive [first-quarter] earnings reports and its aggressive expansion in overseas markets. The fastfood giant posted a net profit for the second consecutive quarter, supported by international sales that have recovered to pre-pandemic levels,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said in a Viber message last Friday.

In a separate Viber message, Timson Securities, Inc. trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said investor sentiments remained cautious after a series of economic reports were released last week.

JFC swung to profit in the first three months of the year after posting P152.65 million in net attributable income from P1.68-billion loss in the same period last year. However, revenue dropped by 12% year on year to P34.68 billion during the period.

System-wide sales, which include total sales from company-owned and franchised stores, dipped by 13.4% to P47.78 billion. Broken down, local market accounted for 58.9% of global system-wide sales, while international markets cornered 41.1%.

Mr. Pangan said the quarterly report had minimal impact on JFC’s share price movement last week, as investors are still assessing the international expansion efforts in the coming quarters.

“The international expansion has somehow benefited the company in a sense that countries with faster and wider coverage in their vaccination programs saw greater store sales growth,” he said.

Traders and investors are not so bullish on JFC, Mr. Arce said, as they see structural headwinds to the company’s domestic dine-in business.

“The slow vaccine rollout is likely seen to keep unemployment and consumer risk aversion elevated in the long term. Minimum health standards post inoculation are expected to be the new [normal] and could require JFC to accelerate delivery and digital channel capability improvements,” Mr. Arce said.

Aside from Jollibee, JFC operates Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, PHO24, Panda Express, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Ho Wan, Smashburger, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, among others.

As of end-March, JFC has 5,827 stores worldwide — 3,218 in the Philippines and 2,609 abroad. It has presence in China, North America, Middle East, and Europe.

It recently opened its 49th Jollibee store in Maryland, US, and now operates in 12 US states. The company eyes to launch 300 stores in North America by 2024.

Mr. Arce projected a P4.3-billion attributable net income for JFC this year and P6.5 billion in 2022.

He also pegged JFC support and resistance levels next week to sit on P165 and P175, respectively.

For Mr. Pangan, he expects JFC’s next area of support at P150 and immediate resistance at P180. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona