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TheStreet Open House

Romney Delivers Papa John's a Stock Pop

Stocks in this article: PZZA MCD JACK EAT CBRL

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Papa John's International (PZZA - Get Report) have gained more than 5% since Republican nominee Mitt Romney mentioned the fast food pizza chain in a speech on Tuesday.

Shares of the Louisville, Ky.-based company are at $52.55, up 4 cents, or 0.08% on Thursday, but have risen 5.6% since Tuesday trading.

Romney's original speech gave special nods to Papa John's founder John Schnatter and McDonald's (MCD) founder Ray Kroc -- two giants of successful fast food corporations -- in the same breath as Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs, Henry Ford (F) and Microsoft's (MSFT) Bill Gates as the former Massachusetts governor knocked President Barack Obama's controversial speech that has made small business owners crow.

Though the latest Web video doesn't broadcast the candidate's somewhat humorous reference to Papa John's, it is the third straight day when media outlets, replaying the speech, have unintentionally given the pizza seller national airtime.

"Remember when -- what was it -- a couple months ago with the Etch-a-Sketch company? They mentioned that out there on the campaign trail and that stock popped," said Brian Sozzi, chief strategic officer at NBG Productions. "So I guess maybe if your company gets mentioned out there in the political campaign in a positive light, or any light, it's essentially free marketing and everyone goes to do their research on the company."

But Sozzi suggested, based on this week's Consumer Price Index , people may be buying more pizza as costs have come down for the consumer. The company's margins may improve if a combination of tapering consumer cost burden and possible dipping costs for Papa John's occurs.

The restaurant sector has rallied recently as Papa John's, Brinker International (EAT), Jack in the Box (JACK) and Cracker Barrel (CBRL) are near all-time trading highs.

Schnatter started Papa John's in 1983 in the broom closet of his father's tavern, according to the company's Web site. He opened the first restaurant in 1984, and now sits as the chief executive of the pizza chain that has more than 2,500 restaurants. It's the kind of story Romney has highlighted to attack the president's comment that people who own businesses didn't do it without the help of other people.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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