Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (PZZA): Insiders Are Buying, Should You?

Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) was in 11 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. PZZA investors should pay attention to a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money in recent months. There were 15 hedge funds in our database with PZZA holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

Papa John's Int'l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA)

In the financial world, there are dozens of gauges shareholders can use to analyze Mr. Market. A pair of the most useful are hedge fund and insider trading activity. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best fund managers can trounce their index-focused peers by a very impressive amount (see just how much).

Equally as important, positive insider trading activity is another way to parse down the marketplace. Obviously, there are plenty of stimuli for an executive to downsize shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would behave bullishly. Many academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if piggybackers know where to look (learn more here).

Now, it’s important to take a gander at the key action encompassing Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA).

Hedge fund activity in Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA)

Heading into 2013, a total of 11 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -27% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings considerably.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies had the largest position in Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA), worth close to $16.4 million, comprising less than 0.1%% of its total 13F portfolio. Coming in second is Claes Fornell of CSat Investment Advisory, with a $12 million position; the fund has 5% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedgies that are bullish include Peter Rathjens, Bruce Clarke and John Campbell’s Arrowstreet Capital, Robert B. Gillam’s McKinley Capital Management and Drew Cupps’s Cupps Capital Management.

Due to the fact that Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) has faced declining sentiment from hedge fund managers, we can see that there exists a select few funds that slashed their entire stakes at the end of the year. It’s worth mentioning that Israel Englander’s Catapult Capital Management sold off the biggest position of all the hedgies we watch, valued at close to $1.9 million in stock.. John Overdeck and David Siegel’s fund, Two Sigma Advisors, also dumped its stock, about $1 million worth. These transactions are important to note, as aggregate hedge fund interest fell by 4 funds at the end of the year.

How have insiders been trading Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is most useful when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last six-month time period, Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) has seen 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 5 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s go over hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA). These stocks are Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD), Bob Evans Farms Inc (NASDAQ:BOBE), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK), DineEquity Inc (NYSE:DIN), and Texas Roadhouse Inc (NASDAQ:TXRH). This group of stocks are in the restaurants industry and their market caps match PZZA’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) 17 0 9
Bob Evans Farms Inc (NASDAQ:BOBE) 7 2 1
Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) 15 1 9
DineEquity Inc (NYSE:DIN) 19 0 5
Texas Roadhouse Inc (NASDAQ:TXRH) 14 1 5

With the returns exhibited by the aforementioned research, retail investors must always watch hedge fund and insider trading activity, and Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) shareholders fit into this picture quite nicely.

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