2 Stocks At Record Highs Today

Planet Fitness options traders were favoring puts ahead of earnings

by Patrick Martin

Published on Aug 10, 2017 at 10:16 AM

Analysts are weighing in on payment processor Vantiv Inc (NYSE:VNTV), workout center Planet Fitness Inc (NYSE:PLNT), as well as 3-D printing specialist Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS). Here's a quick roundup of today's bullish brokerage notes on shares of VNTV, PLNT, and SSYS, two of which are trading at record highs.

Worldpay Acquisition Sparks Bullish Analyst Attention for Vantiv Stock

Vantiv stock is up 2.7% to trade at $68.91 -- a new record high -- extending yesterday's rally in the wake of clinching a $10.4 billion deal to buy Worldpay. As a result, VNTV stock received an upgrade to "buy" from "hold" from Stifel Nicolaus, which also hiked its price target to $85 from $63. In fact, after the Worldpay news and Vantiv's earnings report, the shares received no fewer than five price-target hikes from analysts. It's been a solid year for VNTV stock, which has tacked on 25% year-over-year. Plus, this week's rally shoots Vantiv past the $66 mark, a level the shares have repeatedly tested in 2017. 

Short interest for VNTV stock is at its highest point since May, and increased by a whopping 88% during the last reporting period. However, short interest still only represents 3% of the stock's total available float. 

Planet Fitness Stock Flexing Its Muscle After Earnings Beat

Planet Fitness stock is up 4.6% to trade at $24.61 -- and just notched a record high of $24.79 -- after the gym company posted quarterly earnings and revenue that soundly beat analyst expectations. As a result, Jefferies raised its price target to $29 from $26 --unprecedented territory for PLNT stock. The shares have tacked on 29% year-over-year, with recent pullbacks contained by their 50-day moving average.

Option traders are skeptical, however. PLNT's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.14 ranks in the 95th percentile of its annual range, pointing to a much bigger-than-usual put skew among short-term options traders

Earnings Victory Helping Stratasys Stock Rally

Stratasys stock is up 4.2% to trade at $22.90, thanks to well-received earnings. SSYS stock promptly received an upgrade to "buy" at Citigroup, as well as a price-target hike to $19 from $18 at J.P. Morgan Securities. (On the other hand, three other brokerage firms cut their price targets on the shares.) SSYS stock has dropped more than 25% since its May peak north of $30, but recently found support in the $22 area, which represents a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the equity's rally from late 2016 to the aforementioned high.

Quite a few short sellers could be nervous today. Short interest represents nearly nine sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at SSYS' average daily trading volume.

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