Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Papa John’s International, Inc. (PZZA) to Sell

Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Papa John’s shares have underperformed the Zacks categorized Retail–Restaurants industry year to date. Notably, a challenging sales environment in the U.S. restaurants space is expected to weigh on the company’s top-line. Moreover, profits remain under pressure as the company continues to make investments in various sales-boosting initiatives as well as labor expenses continue to increase due to Obamacare. Meanwhile, large scale international expansion has been the backbone of Papa John’s operations recently. Though aggressive expansion policies bode well for the long term, they continue to pressurize margins in the near-term as pre-opening costs are on the rise. Nevertheless, Papa John’s strategic partnerships, menu innovation, value offers, digital innovation as well as focus on franchising bode well. However, among other things, foreign exchange translations could continue to negatively impact revenues.”

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on PZZA. Stephens reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $100.00 target price on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Thursday, February 23rd. Longbow Research reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Monday, April 10th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $83.00 price target on Papa John’s International and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Finally, Instinet raised their price target on Papa John’s International from $76.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 3rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $87.00.

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

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ PZZA) traded down 0.602% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $75.095. The company had a trading volume of 274,481 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $2.76 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.629 and a beta of 0.50. Papa John’s International has a 12-month low of $63.77 and a 12-month high of $90.49. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $80.29 and a 200 day moving average of $81.70.

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ:PZZA) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.03. Papa John’s International had a return on equity of 11,469.18% and a net margin of 6.09%. The business had revenue of $449.27 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $435.47 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.69 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Papa John’s International will post $2.86 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, insider Steve M. Ritchie sold 10,396 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.00, for a total value of $831,680.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,601 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,008,080. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Timothy C. Ohern sold 6,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.79, for a total value of $490,740.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 36,020 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,946,075.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 20,447 shares of company stock valued at $1,656,182 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 27.70% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC raised its position in Papa John’s International by 20.4% in the first quarter. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC now owns 1,430 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 242 shares during the last quarter. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC raised its position in Papa John’s International by 20.4% in the first quarter. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC now owns 1,820 shares of the company’s stock worth $146,000 after buying an additional 308 shares during the last quarter. Elkfork Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Papa John’s International during the fourth quarter valued at about $157,000. Fifth Third Bancorp raised its stake in Papa John’s International by 11.3% in the first quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 2,112 shares of the company’s stock valued at $169,000 after buying an additional 215 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in Papa John’s International by 55.0% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,188 shares of the company’s stock valued at $175,000 after buying an additional 776 shares in the last quarter. 79.23% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Papa John’s International Company Profile

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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