Analyst Targets 18% Upside for Ulta Beauty Stock

A majority of covering firms already sport "buy" or better ratings on Ulta stock

Managing Editor
Nov 6, 2018 at 9:44 AM
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Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) is higher in early trading, with the shares last seen up 0.7% at $287.03. Boosting the stock is a positive earnings reaction for e.l.f. Beauty (ELF), and a price-target hike from J.P. Morgan Securities to $337 from $282 -- an 18.1% premium to last night's close.

This is the second bull note the beauty name has received this week, just yesterday landing a price-target lift to $320 from $295 at Baird. From a broader viewpoint, 15 of the 19 analysts covering ULTA sport "buy" or "strong buy" recommendations.

This optimism is seen in the options pits, too. 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 1.64, ranking in the 75th annual percentile. This suggests that during the past two weeks of trading, calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.

However, there's still some skepticism priced into the shares. Short interest on ULTA surged 10.8% during the most recent reporting period to 2.44 million shares. At the equity's average pace of daily trading, it would take shorts three days to buy back their bearish bets.

On the charts, Ulta Beauty stock has been on a steady climb higher, with its most recent pullback quickly contained by its rising 60-day moving average. ULTA is now up more than 28% year-to-date, and is withing striking distance of its annual high of $290.29 from Sept. 11. 

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