Shares of Cheesecake Factory Inc. hit a 52-week high on Wednesday after an analyst sharply rose his price target on the Calabasas operator of casual dining restaurants. Shares hit $36.46 in midday trading on the Nasdaq, before settling down to close at $36.34, a gain of 39 cents, or 1.1 percent. Bank of America analyst Joseph Buckley on Tuesday raised his price target from $36 to $40, citing the company’s 12 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and its steady but “modest” opening of new restaurants. “The brand’s highly differentiated market position should facilitate steady market share gains in the challenging casual dining sector of the industry,” he wrote in the report. The chain also has generated buzz this year for its overseas expansion. It opened its third location in the Middle East on Dec. 31, and announced plans this month to move into Latin America, starting with an outlet in Mexico City. Cheesecake Factory owns and operates 175 restaurants in the United States, including 14 Grand Lux locations.