Bull Notes For Aramark Stock After Activist Investor Stake

Stifel has upgraded ARMK to "buy" from "hold" in response

Patrick Martin
Aug 19, 2019 at 9:58 AM
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One of the top stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this morning is Aramark (NYSE:ARMK), up 10.5% to trade at $40.99, on track to snap a five-day losing streak. This comes after activist investor Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge bought a roughly 10% stake in the food services provider, becoming its top investor. Stifel loves the development, upgrading ARMK to "buy" from hold and boosting its price target to $49 from $36. The analyst in coverage believes this changes the picture materially, while boosting efficiency and underscoring a prudent use of capital. Instinet, meanwhile, issued a $22 price-target hike to $50.

Aramark stock is pacing for its best single-session percentage gain ever, and just reclaimed its year-over-year breakeven point. Since finding familiar support at the $29 level in March, ARMK has carved out a channel of higher lows and highs, with pullbacks neatly contained by its 40-day moving average. Year-to-date, the shares are now up 38%, and are a chip-shot from their Sept. 26 annual high of $43.70. 

More bull notes could help ARMK scale that peak, and there's plenty of room for more analyst attention. The majority of analysts covering the equity rate it a tepid "hold," while the consensus 12-month price target is now a discount to its current perch.

In the options pits, traders have been strictly focused on calls. In the last ten days, 4,965 long calls crossed in the past 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), compared to just 19 puts.

Traders looking to speculate on the security's near-term momentum should consider options. Aramark's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 26% is in just the 7th percentile of its annual range. In simpler terms, short-term options are pricing in relatively tame volatility expectations for ARMK at the moment.

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