Some stock traders are smiling on pizza stocks, while others are wearing concerned frowns.
Fahnestock & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa, brokerage, gave Los Angeles-based California Pizza Kitchen a buy rating on March 8, and forecasted a 12-month price target of $28. In recent weeks, CPK's stock has hovered near the $20 mark.
According to Dow Jones Newswires, restaurant analyst Michael D. Smith called CPK's concept "unique and well-executed," and said the chain's balance sheet is "sound and financing is in place" for future growth without the need for new capital.
The news isn't as bright, however, for Pizza Inn, based near Dallas. The company was one of 1,104 publicly traded U.S. companies rated as "weak and harboring excessive risk" by Weiss Ratings, Inc. The company, which has about 450 pizza stores around the globe, received an "E" rating, meaning very weak.
The stock's price has fluctuated between $1.30 and $1.50 for several weeks.
The price of CEC Entertainment, parent company of Chuck E. Cheese's, has performed strongly this year, peaking at nearly $50 per share in March.
Tricon Global Restaurants, parent company of Pizza Hut, also has seen its share prices soar. Twice within the week of March 4-8, the stock price topped $60, well above its $39 price of last year.
While Pizza Hut has struggled with negative to flat sales in recent months, its sister companies, Taco Bell and KFC, have posted strong same-store sales gains for several months running.