Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, December 10, 1999

Papa John's falls on bad sales news

LOUISVILLE, Ky -- Shares of Papa John's International Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. pizza chain, fell sharply today after the company said fourth-quarter sales will be even lower than the forecast it told analysts yesterday. Papa John's fell $3.56, or 13 percent, to a 52-week closing low of $23.31 in Nasdaq trading of 9.15 million shares, more than 20 times the three-month daily average. Earlier, the stock fell as low as $21.25. The shares have lost more than a third of their value since Wednesday.

Inflation in check, price report shows

WASHINGTON -- Prices at the wholesale level rose a modest 0.2 percent in November despite a sharp jump in energy costs that overwhelmed a small rise in food prices.

The Labor Department reported today that the increase in its Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, followed a 0.1 percent decline in October and was on target with many analysts' expectations. Not counting the volatile energy and food categories, the "core" rate of inflation at the wholesale level was flat in November, following a moderate 0.3 percent increase in October. That was an even better showing on inflation than many analysts were forecasting. They were anticipating that the "core" rate would rise by 0.1 percent.

"The magical economy keeps on booming, while inflation remains in check," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.

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