Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) shares hit a new 52-week low during trading on Wednesday after the company announced weaker than expected quarterly earnings. The stock traded as low as $60.00 and last traded at $60.00, with a volume of 2,657,892 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $68.05.

The company reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.61 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 $431.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $427.23 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.57 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 7th will be issued a $0.225 dividend. This represents a $0.90 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 6th. Papa John’s International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 31.36%.

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

Several equities research analysts have commented on PZZA shares. Zacks Investment Research raised Papa John’s International from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, July 7th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $83.00 target price on shares of Papa John’s International in a report on Friday, July 14th. Instinet reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $78.00 target price (down from $84.00) on shares of Papa John’s International in a report on Monday, July 31st. Stephens boosted their target price on Papa John’s International from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Finally, BTIG Research reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $100.00 target price on shares of Papa John’s International in a report on Tuesday, August 29th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $82.11.

In other news, SVP Timothy C. Ohern sold 9,218 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.08, for a total value of $692,087.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 35,650 shares in the company, valued at $2,676,602. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 27.70% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Flinton Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of 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. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Papa John’s International 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 purchasing an additional 386 shares during the last quarter. Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new position in shares of Papa John’s International in the second quarter worth $201,000. Riverhead Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Papa John’s International 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 purchasing an additional 1,396 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nine Chapters Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Papa John’s International in the third quarter worth $219,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 84.18% of the company’s stock.

The firm has a 50-day moving average of $71.02 and a 200-day moving average of $75.72. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.19 billion, a PE ratio of 20.96 and a beta of 0.50.

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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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