Chipotle Stock At New Heights After Upgrade

Wedbush thins Chipotle can establish a "digital moat"

by Patrick Martin

Published on Sep 9, 2019 at 10:01 AM

The shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) are up 2.1% to trade at $849.90 this morning, and earlier snagged a new record high of $856.24 out of the gate. This comes after Wedbush raised its rating to "outperform" from "neutral" and upped its price target to $980 from $780. The analyst in coverage said the company is in position to form a "digital moat" that will continue to drive sales. The price target is the second-highest rating on Wall Street, and a 16% premium from Friday's closing perch. 

CMG's ascendance in 2019 has been well-documented, but more recently, the shares have found support at their rising 20-day moving average. Still, the analyst community has its fair share of skeptics. Of the 27 brokerages covering CMG, 18 rate it a "hold" or worse, while the consensus 12-month price target of $781.69 is a 6.5% discount to Friday's closing perch of $836.32. 

There's similar pessimism among options traders, where the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.87 sits in the 88th percentile of its annual range. This suggests that these traders have rarely been more put-heavy in the past year.

For what it's worth, options can be had on the cheap right now. CMG's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 20% is in the low 2nd percentile of its annual range. This means that near-term option premiums are pricing in tamer-than-usual volatility expectations, making now a good time to bet on the stock's short-term direction via options.


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