Papa John's Int'l (PZZA) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Papa John's Int'l (NASDAQ:PZZA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Papa John’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 enhancements, brand imaging and improving customer experience. Meanwhile, Papa John’s strategic partnerships, large scale expansion plans and increased focus on franchising bode well too. However, the company’s shares have widely underperformed the industry in the past one year. 2018 earnings estimates have also gone down over the past two months. This reflects an on-going pessimism over the stock’s prospect. Going forward, 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 brokerages have also recently weighed in on PZZA. Nomura reduced their price target on shares of Papa John's Int'l from $78.00 to $71.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of Papa John's Int'l in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Deutsche Bank started coverage on shares of Papa John's Int'l in a research report on Monday, December 18th. They set a “hold” rating and a $63.00 price target on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $60.00 price target on shares of Papa John's Int'l in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Papa John's Int'l from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Saturday, December 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Papa John's Int'l has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $76.60.

Shares of Papa John's Int'l (PZZA) traded up $0.70 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $58.65. 678,700 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 677,233. The firm has a market capitalization of $2,030.69, a PE ratio of 20.22, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 0.40. The company has a current ratio of 1.21, a quick ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -8.26. Papa John's Int'l has a 1 year low of $55.05 and a 1 year high of $87.45.

Papa John's Int'l (NASDAQ:PZZA) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The company reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.61 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $431.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $427.23 million. Papa John's Int'l had a net margin of 6.12% and a return on equity of 4,321.08%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.57 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that Papa John's Int'l will post 2.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Wayne Kent Taylor acquired 8,860 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 9th. The shares were bought at an average price of $57.53 per share, for a total transaction of $509,715.80. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 30,822 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,773,189.66. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 27.70% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Flinton Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Papa John's Int'l by 76.9% during the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 1,840 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares during the period. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Papa John's Int'l in the third quarter worth $152,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Papa John's Int'l by 17.6% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,574 shares of the company’s stock worth $185,000 after buying an additional 386 shares during the last quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Papa John's Int'l by 87.3% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,996 shares of the company’s stock worth $215,000 after buying an additional 1,396 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nine Chapters Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Papa John's Int'l in the third quarter worth $219,000. Institutional investors own 84.10% of the company’s stock.

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About Papa John's Int'l

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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