Ulta Beauty Stock Gets Lift From Guggenheim Upgrade

ULTA options traders have been put-heavy in recent weeks

by Emma Duncan

Published on Apr 16, 2018 at 9:51 AM

Shares of Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) are trading higher after the makeup retailer received an upgrade at Guggenheim to "buy" from "neutral" this morning. The brokerage firm set a price target of $260 and named the equity a "best idea." In response, ULTA is trading up 2.8% at $227.14.

This positive price action has the security ready to close above the 200-day moving average for the first time since last July. This trendline capped the equity's breakout attempts in January, and acted as a ceiling on Friday, as well. But while the shares remain down roughly 20% on a year-over-year basis, many analysts were weighing in bullishly at the beginning of 2018 when ULTA was trading near current levels.

Just last week, in fact, Piper Jaffray upgraded Ulta Beauty to "overweight" from "neutral" and lifted its price target $24 to $236, Overall, the stock's 12-month price target stands up at $249.61, while 14 out of 20 analysts sport "buy" or better ratings.

In the options pits, traders have been leaning bearish towards Ulta stock, with data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) showing a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.05, ranking in the 80th annual percentile. This indicates that puts have been purchased over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Regardless of whether it's calls or puts that ULTA options traders are purchasing, the retailer has handily rewarded premium buyers over the past year. The beauty stock currently sports a Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 96 out of 100, meaning the stock has tended to exceed options traders' volatility expectations in the last 12 months.

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