Why Papa John's Shares Spiked

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of pizza slinger Papa John's (NAS: PZZA) were fast-rising in today's trading and closed with a monster 20% gain.

So what: It's earnings season, folks, and so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the Papa's big leap was thanks to an investor-pleasing earnings report. Despite a hit from marketing charges, Papa John's first-quarter earnings per share increased 8% from last year. That was far better than the $0.55 that Wall Street analysts had expected. Revenue, meanwhile, was up 6% from the first quarter of 2011 thanks in large part to 3% same-store sales growth in domestic company-owned restaurants and 8.4% same-store growth internationally.

Now what: In the company's press release, Papa John's CEO and founder John Schnatter said, "The year is off to a terrific start." I think it's safe to say that investors agree. Of course, it also helped that, in addition to the strong first-quarter numbers, Papa John's also boosted its full-year outlook, taking its expected earnings per share to a range of $2.40 to $2.50. Wall Street had been estimating $2.36 for the year.

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At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Papa John's International. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferhas no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting hisCAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter,@KoppTheFool, or onFacebook. The Fool'sdisclosure policyprefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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