Weight Watchers Stock Pops; Chipotle Sinks After Earnings

Tronc stock is soaring after selling the LA Times

by Patrick Martin

Published on Feb 7, 2018 at 3:26 PM

It's another volatile session on Wall Street today, with the Dow last seen sporting a triple-digit lead. Among individual stocks moving higher today are Oprah favorite Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW) and media stock tronc Inc (NASDAQ:TRNC), though burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is struggling once again. Here's a closer look at what's moving shares of WTW, TRNC, and CMG today.

Bold Revenue Goal Sends WTW Stock To New Highs

Weight Watchers stock is up an impressive 17.8% at $74.31 at last check -- and earlier touched a five-year high of $75.03-- thanks to the company's ambitious goal to grow revenue by more than $2 billion by the end of 2020. WTW said it will also will offer free memberships to teenagers aged 13 to 17 this summer, and remove artificial ingredients from its products.

Craig-Hallum responded by upping its price target to $80 from $70 -- territory not charted since March 2012 -- noting the company's track record for successful execution. WTW stock is on track for its best single-day session since Aug. 4, and has gained over 500% in the last 52-weeks.

Weight Watchers stock continues to shine in the face of ramped up selling pressure, speaking volumes to its underlying strength. Short interest increased by 16% during the last reporting period to 8.58 million shares, the highest point since mid-June. This represents a hefty 31% of WTW's total available float, and more than three days of pent-up buying power, at the average pace of trading.

Tronc Stock Soars After LA Times Sale

Tronc stock is up 21.5% to trade at $21.99, among the best stocks on the Nasdaq today, after the media company announced a deal to sell the Los Angeles Times newspaper -- as well as its other California News Group assets -- to investor Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million in cash. The news vaulted TRNC shares to a three-year high of $24.74 out of the gate, and have now added 62% year-over-year.

Some of today's surge may be attributed to short covering. Heading into today's session, it would've taken short sellers nearly eight days to cover these bearish bets, at TRNC stock's average pace of trading.

Chipotle Stock Pummeled By Same-Store Sales

Shares of CMG are down 11% at $270.84, one of the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today. Although the company reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that came in above estimates, it also said same-store sales traffic dipped in the three-month period, and will continue to fall through the middle 2018.

In reaction, a number of analysts issued bearish brokerage notes. Included in the bunch was Mizuho, which downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy," and issued a price-target cut to $300 from $370.

Put buyers have piled on to the struggling stock today. Over 23,000 puts have traded so far, four times the intraday norm. Most active by far are the weekly 2/9 260- and 270-strike puts, where new positions are being opened. 


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