"Our new price target and improved outlook for PZZA lead us to upgrade our rating," Feltl analysts wrote in a report on Wednesday. "There is not enough upside to our new price target to recommend the shares, but we would turn more positive if same-store sales improved more than we expect, PZZA produced better earnings growth or if the shares traded below $37 with no change in fundamentals."
Shares of Papa John's hit a 52-week high Thursday of $48.60. The stock's 52-week low of $29.65 was set on Aug. 9.Papa John's trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 17.01 times; the average for restaurant and bar companies is 19.55. For comparison, Domino's (DPZ) has a lower forward P/E of 14.9. Three of the four analysts who cover Papa John's rated it hold; one analyst gave the stock a buy rating. The stock has risen 28.03% year to date.