Citigroup Inc. initiated coverage on shares of Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) in a research report released on Monday morning, MarketBeat Ratings reports. The brokerage issued a buy rating and a $90.00 target price on the stock.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research raised Papa John’s International from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $88.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 18th. 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. Stephens increased their price objective on 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. Finally, Longbow Research reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Papa John’s International in a research report on Monday, May 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Papa John’s International has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $89.14.

Shares of Papa John’s International (NASDAQ PZZA) opened at 72.93 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $2.66 billion, a PE ratio of 25.40 and a beta of 0.51. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $76.03 and its 200-day moving average price is $77.28. Papa John’s International has a 1-year low of $70.73 and a 1-year high of $90.49.

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

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

In related news, SVP Timothy C. Ohern sold 9,218 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.08, for a total transaction of $692,087.44. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 35,650 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,676,602. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 27.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC boosted 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 purchasing an additional 242 shares during the last quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Papa John’s International by 76.9% in the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 1,840 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp boosted its position 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 worth $169,000 after purchasing an additional 215 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position 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 worth $175,000 after purchasing an additional 776 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new position in Papa John’s International in the second quarter worth about $201,000. 83.77% of the stock is currently 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.

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

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