Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Friday. The brokerage presently has a $88.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 12.04% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Papa John’s second-quarter 2017 earnings of 65 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.2% and were up 6.6% year over year (y/y) owing to higher revenues. Revenues of $434.7 million came below the consensus mark by 4.8% but increased 2.8% y/y. Notably, Papa John’s shares have outpaced the industry in the last one month. It’s commitment to provide quality food is commendable and should continue appealing health conscious customers. In addition to product innovation, the company is focusing on digital innovation to attract new customers and drive growth and efficiency which is impressive. In fact, Papa John’s strategic partnerships, large scale expansion plans and increased focus on franchising bode well too. However, costs related to sales initiatives coupled with forex headwinds could weigh on profits while a choppy sales environment in the restaurant space may limit revenue growth.”

A number of other research analysts also recently commented on the stock. Stephens boosted their price objective on shares of Papa John’s International from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Instinet reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $78.00 price objective (down from $84.00) on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $83.00 price objective on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Friday, July 14th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Papa John’s International from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Finally, KeyCorp reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Tuesday, June 20th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $87.67.

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA) traded down 0.52% during trading on Friday, reaching $78.54. 366,762 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Papa John’s International has a 52 week low of $70.73 and a 52 week high of $90.49. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.36 and a beta of 0.51. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $75.62 and its 200-day moving average price is $78.44.

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The company reported $0.65 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.64 by $0.01. Papa John’s International had a net margin of 6.13% and a return on equity of 919.82%. The firm had revenue of $434.78 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $438.51 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.61 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 2.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Papa John’s International will post $2.86 EPS for the current year.

Papa John’s International announced that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Tuesday, August 1st that allows the company to repurchase $500.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase up to 198% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Papa John’s International news, SVP Timothy C. Ohern sold 6,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.79, for a total value of $490,740.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 36,020 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,946,075.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Steve M. Ritchie sold 10,396 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.00, for a total transaction of $831,680.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 37,601 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,008,080. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 27.70% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Papa John’s International by 12.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,464,406 shares of the company’s stock valued at $248,607,000 after buying an additional 383,459 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Papa John’s International by 7.3% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,378,840 shares of the company’s stock valued at $190,402,000 after buying an additional 160,913 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in Papa John’s International by 8.5% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,411,257 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,272,000 after buying an additional 110,440 shares in the last quarter. TimesSquare Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Papa John’s International by 9.7% in the second quarter. TimesSquare Capital Management LLC now owns 1,055,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $75,721,000 after buying an additional 93,540 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in Papa John’s International by 3.7% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 925,918 shares of the company’s stock valued at $66,445,000 after buying an additional 32,716 shares in the last quarter. 80.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Papa John’s International

Papa John’s International, Inc (Papa John’s) operates and franchises pizza delivery and carryout restaurants and, in certain international markets, dine-in and delivery restaurants under the trademark Papa John’s. The Company operates through five segments: domestic Company-owned restaurants, North America commissaries, North America franchising, international operations and all other business units.

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Analyst Recommendations for Papa John`s International (NASDAQ:PZZA)

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