Analysts Update Views on Beer Stocks STZ and BUD

There was notable call buying on BUD earlier this week

by Josh Selway

Published on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:44 AM

Beer stocks Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) and Anheuser Busch Inbev NV (NYSE:BUD) received analyst attention this morning. Let's take a quick look at how the shares of STZ and BUD fared as a result.

Credit Suisse initiated coverage on Constellation Brands with an "outperform" rating and $230 price target. The majority of analysts were already bullish on STZ, with 10 of 16 handing out "buy" or "strong buy" ratings. However, Credit Suisse's new price target is well above the Wall Street consensus of $209.39. Indeed, STZ would need to rally 38.5% from yesterday's close of $166.06 to hit the $230 mark, a price it hasn't touched since June.

Staying on the charts, the equity sold off in the final months of 2018, eventually bottoming near $150 early this year. As it stands now, the shares are trading right above their 50-day moving average, up 1.8% at $169.00.

Data suggests a number of options traders are eyeing upside for STZ, too. This is based on the fact that the front-month March 175 call is the second most populated contract overall, and heavy buy-to-open activity has been confirmed.

Turning to Budweiser parent Anheuser Busch Inbev, RBC dropped its "top pick" tag for the stock and now rates it just "sector perform." This comes as BUD shares have fallen over 27% year-over-year and are currently running into the historically resistant 160-day moving average, last seen trading down 2% at $80.46. The lackluster technical setup helps explain why most analysts have bearish recommendations.

Options traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), however, have been buying calls at an accelerated rate. The 10-day call/put volume ratio across these exchanges comes in at 6.58 and ranks in the 79th annual percentile. Digging deeper, it looks like this was driven by a massive new position added at the September 70 call, where 15,000 contracts were purchased earlier this week, putting the option at the top of BUD's open interest list.

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