Chipotle Stock Suffers Setback After Conference Call

Chipotle will close 65 of its underperforming stores

Managing Editor
Jun 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM
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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) stock is trading lower today, as the company's highly anticipated conference call left investors disappointed. On the call, new CEO Brian Niccol -- who recently said the burrito chain is testing new menu items -- revealed Chipotle will be closing 65 of its underperforming restaurants, and announced plans for in-app delivery and a loyalty program. In response, Morgan Stanley and Canaccord Genuity raised their price targets on CMG stock to $372 and $500, respectively, while Maxim slashed its target to $420 from $435. 

At last check, Chipotle stock was down 5.9% to trade at $430.20, and is on track to snap its four-week winning streak. The shares -- set for their worst day since Feb. 7 -- are now testing their 50-day moving average, a trendline that served as support earlier this year. Nevertheless, thanks to its blowout earnings report in April, the security has still added nearly 50% in 2018, culminating in an annual high of $474.46 last Friday. 

Options buyers have handily favored calls in the past 10 days. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the security with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.70, which ranks in the 81st percentile of its annual range. In other words, Chipotle calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks. 

Digging deeper, the weekly 7/6 520-strike call saw the largest increase in open interest during this time frame. According to data from the major options exchanges, the majority of the activity at this strike has been of the buy-to-open kind, indicating options traders were banking on CMG shares to extend their quest for new highs in the short term. 

Meanwhile, CMG stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) currently sits at a 94 out of 100. This lofty ranking suggests that CMG has handily exceeded the volatility expectations priced into its options during the past 12 months.

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