Pubs, bars and restaurants last month endured their biggest sales fall in a year, with London restaurants hardest hit in an industry facing a squeezed consumer and rising costs.
TalkTalk: Credit Suisse downgrades to Underperform with a target price of 170p.
It will be tough for Restaurant Group to deliver a sustained improvement in performance as cost and competition pressures continues to build, said Berenberg as it reiterated a 'sell' recommendation on the shares.
Pub companies and analysts were gulping after a warning from brewer Greene King about falling sales, rising competition and costs, all set against a worrying backdrop of tightening consumer belts.
Companies with overseas and especially emerging markets exposure such as international banks, miners and tobacco producers are the way to play the UK's next economic phase, Citi said on Tuesday, picking a 'sweet 16' large and small cap stocks to buy, including AstraZeneca, Bellway and Keyword Studios.
Restaurant Group sales deteriorated as the first half of the year wore on, but the Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito owner served up a flat dividend as it reported early signs of volume improvement and broke back into the black.
Peel Hunt downgraded Restaurant Group to 'hold' from 'reduce' ahead of Thursday's first-half results, cutting the price target to 300p from 350p.
Selling from the US and Asian trading sessions has carried over into the London open, despite possible indications that China might not back-up its errant neighbour if it carries out a missile strike that could threaten US territory.
The Restaurant Group announced the appointment of Kirk Davis as Chief Financial Officer on Friday before the market open.
First quarter sales from The Restaurant Group have improved significantly from the end of last year, but are still in decline and are not expected to benefit from less helpful conditions as the year goes on.
GlaxoSmithKline: Berenberg upgrades to Buy with a target price of 1885p.
JPMorgan Cazenove upgraded Restaurant Group to 'overweight' from 'neutral' and lifted the price target to 380p from 340p following the company's first-quarter update on Friday, as it now sees upside to the share price.
Restaurant Group was under pressure on Tuesday as UBS downgraded the stock to 'sell' from 'neutral' and cut the price target to 275p from 310p following a strong run in the shares recently and pointing to the turnaround plans for Frankie & Benny's.
Restaurant Group said chief financial officer, Barry Nightingale was stepping down from the board and leaving the company with immediate effect.
Restaurant sales dropped off last month after several months of growth, with flat sales growth for pub operators and strong performance in London helping the capital buck the trend.
Consumer spending growth accelerated in March, as a recovery in discretionary spending after five months offset declines on fuel and groceries.
Wall Street was slightly on the backfoot at the start of the session as startled traders tried to reconcile a surprisingly low reading on US non-farm payrolls for March with a large and a unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.
Berenberg downgraded Restaurant Group to 'sell' from 'hold', keeping the price target at 300p following a strong rally in the shares.
Glencore: Goldman Sachs upgrades to Buy with a target price of 390p.
Amec Foster Wheeler: Citigroup downgrades to Neutral/High Risk with a target price of 580p.