People looking at investing in a company called Sweet Thanks International Inc. would probably have been soured by the experience, according to the Utah Securities Division.

The division has suspended all trading in the company's common stock, including trading in the company's warrants, saying insiders were manipulating stock prices."The division based its action on its determination the price of the stock has been highly inflated and that there presently exists no independent market price for securities of the company established in a market free of manipulation," said Earl Maeser, division director.

A public offering of Sweet Thanks stock was made in 1989. The offering was underwritten by Johnson-Bowles Co., a Utah broker-dealer whose license was recently suspended. All the "so-called public shares, " Maeser said, were held in the name of Johnco, an account name used by Johnson-Bowles.

Last summer, Sweet Thanks filed a registration statement listing pre-tax profits of $12,657 for the first half of 1990 and a net book value of $426,257. But the company's principal capital was listed as 2 million shares of common stock, which had been quoted at $5 per share. That is a market capitalization in excess of $10 million.

"The division claims the market capitalization is not supported by a history or volume of trading sufficient to establish a market price for the stock at this level in the absence of manipulation of the market," said Maeser.

"This appears to be a classic box job. In a box job, people by reason of their control, manipulate the (stock's) price to many times its original level, often without knowledge of company management, dump the stock on the public at inflated prices and walk away, leaving the public to suffer the loss."