Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Papa John’s has been posting positive comps both in the domestic as well as international markets over the past several quarters. Going forward, the company is likely to maintain comps growth on the back of its focus on menu innovation and value offers to impress guests. The company also has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. Estimates too have been mostly stable ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. Meanwhile, large scale international expansion has been the backbone of Papa John’s operations recently. The company’s strategic partnerships and increased focus on franchising also bode well. Further, the company’s investments in technology-driven initiatives like digital ordering and development of applications should continue to boost revenues. However, higher costs, negative currency translation and a soft consumer spending environment in the U.S. restaurant space raise concerns.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on PZZA. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. TheStreet raised Papa John’s International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 31st. BTIG Research set a $78.00 price objective on Papa John’s International and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 3rd. KeyCorp raised Papa John’s International from a sector weight rating to an overweight rating and set a $80.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Nomura downgraded Papa John’s International from a buy rating to a neutral rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $66.47 to $70.00 in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Papa John’s International currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $70.50.

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

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA) opened at 76.82 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $76.95 and a 200-day moving average of $67.21. The company has a market capitalization of $2.84 billion, a P/E ratio of 32.59 and a beta of 0.23. Papa John’s International has a one year low of $44.47 and a one year high of $82.55.

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.54 by $0.07. Papa John’s International had a return on equity of 454.11% and a net margin of 5.52%. The business earned $423 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $414.45 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.27 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Papa John’s International will post $2.45 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CEO John H. Schnatter sold 24,322 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.20, for a total transaction of $1,853,336.40. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 9,987,433 shares in the company, valued at $761,042,394.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO John H. Schnatter sold 73,637 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.17, for a total value of $5,756,204.29. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 9,788,556 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $765,171,422.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 28.80% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC boosted its stake in Papa John’s International by 1.3% in the second quarter. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC now owns 6,360 shares of the company’s stock valued at $432,000 after buying an additional 81 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in Papa John’s International by 3.6% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 2,644 shares of the company’s stock valued at $180,000 after buying an additional 91 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System boosted its stake in Papa John’s International by 0.7% in the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 14,350 shares of the company’s stock valued at $976,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. boosted its stake in Papa John’s International by 3.0% in the second quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. now owns 3,495 shares of the company’s stock valued at $238,000 after buying an additional 102 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Papa John’s International by 0.6% in the second quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 42,305 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,877,000 after buying an additional 243 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.18% of the company’s stock.

Papa John’s International Company Profile

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

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:PZZA

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