Chipotle Stock Back On Track After Upgrade

RBC likes Chipotle heading into 2019

Managing Editor
Oct 22, 2018 at 9:04 AM
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The shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) are 1.7% higher before the open, after RBC upgraded the restaurant stock to "outperform" from "sector perform," while boosting its price target to $510 from $450. The analyst in coverage likes Chipotle's menu innovation and digital initiatives, as well as its commitment to improving restaurant margins for 2019. 

Perhaps limiting CMG's upside this morning though is a Wedbush price-target cut to $380 from $445. Chipotle stock is fresh off its fifth straight weekly loss, and as of Friday's close of $428.54 has shed nearly 24% since its Aug. 16 high of $530.68. However, the pullback appears to have been contained by the shares' 160-day moving average. And overall, the security still boasts a 48% lead in 2018. 

A short squeeze could help keep the wind at CMG's back. Short interest fell by 13.7% in the most recent reporting period to 1.97 million shares, the lowest amount since December 2015. This still represents a healthy 7.2% of the stock's total available float, and nearly three times the average daily trading volume. 

Analysts still lean bearishly toward the security. Of the 26 brokerages covering the burrito chain, more than 61% rate it a "hold" or worse. In addition, the average 12-month price target of $465.50 is only a 8% premium to Friday's closing perch. 

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