How Bernie Schaeffer Beat Jim Cramer to the HSY Punch

Hershey stock has been on a tear lately

Managing Editor
Apr 22, 2022 at 8:16 AM
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Last week, subscribers to our Schaeffer's Weekend Player service secured a 200% profit with our Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) May 20, 210-strike call. Options traders tripled their money and hit their target profit in just under two months, and it wasn't with some fancy flavor-of-the-week tech stock. Instead, it was a stable foundational name like Hershey that proved impervious to the persistent inflation fears plaguing stocks to start 2022. Let's queue up the tape and unpack what founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer saw in HSY two months ago.

When Bernie first recommended HSY on Sunday, Feb. 6, the stock had closed the prior Friday at $202.78. The company was fresh off strong top-and bottom-line growth from Thursday, Feb. 3 that subsequently created a rally to all-time highs. Yet at the same time, even as HSY climbed, the shares flashed a 'buy' signal on the Relative Momentum Index (RMI), per the chart below that accompanied the initial recommendation.

On the charts, there was support in place at HSY's 10-unit moving average. Despite this favorable technical setup, only seven of the 21 analysts covering the equity sported "buy" ratings. This signaled more upgrades and/or price-target hikes could be in store in the weeks following Hershey's blowout corporate report.


Bernie also noted that HSY options were not attracting much attention from speculators. Call open interest sat around 7,000, roughly two-thirds off the peak open interest from July 2021 that stood around 22,000 contracts. This underscored the fact that options were the prudent play at the moment.

The Monday morning after the recommendation, two analysts hiked their price targets. Later in March, UBS initiated coverage with a 'neutral' rating but a lofty enough price target ($226) to reflect analyst optimism. While the broader market experienced whipsaw price action thanks to red-hot inflation and the Russia-Ukraine crisis, stable HSY kept climbing. Pullbacks from record highs once more found chart support, and on Monday, April 11, Bernie advised subscribers to close 50% of their HSY position with Hershey stock settling at $223.93. Two days later, the remaining 50% of the position was closed, with HSY trading at $226.50, allowing traders to collect the targeted 200% gain on the trade in just over two months.

Making this successful trade even sweeter is an article from CNBC's Jim Cramer on Monday, April 11 touting HSY. The "Mad Money" host noted “Hershey’s the most consistent growth stock in a group where safety’s first, and you know what they say, safety never takes a vacation. I would buy some here, then wait to buy more if the stock gets hit the next time we have an inflation scare.” Kudos to Jim, but the HSY party had already started two months ago. This successful trade serves as a reminder that focusing your option-buying efforts on equities that make big moves over short time frames helps to minimize the impact of time decay, while simultaneously maximizing your leverage.

Jim Cramer showing up a little late to the party is a digital example of the "magazine cover fallacy" in investing. When you read a cover or featured story in The Wall Street Journal or Forbes - and in this case a testimonial from one of Wall Street's most recognizable and respected names - that trend is likely already widely known, universally accepted, and has been in place for a relatively long time.


Subscribers to Chart of the Week received this commentary on Sunday, April 17.



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