Call Traders Blast Ulta Stock on Target Partnership

The equity has recaptured year-to-date breakeven levels

Assistant Editor
Nov 10, 2020 at 12:53 PM
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The shares of Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) are soaring this afternoon, last seen up 7.1% at $264.71, after the cosmetics retailer struck an interesting deal with Target (TGT). Specifically, Ulta Beauty and Target are opening makeup and skincare shops in just over 100 of Target stores across the U.S. Each shop will occupy about 1,000 square feet and be staffed by Target employees trained by Ulta. As a result of today's announcement, there's a lot of unusual options action taking place in Ulta's options pits.

Before we dig into the options data, let's take a look at Ulta stock's chart performance of late. The equity tumbled to $124.05 -- its lowest level since mid-2015 -- during the broader market's mid-March pullback. The recovery process has been arduous, but within the last two sessions the equity has managed to break above the 320-day moving average for the first time since early 2020.

ULTA Chart November 10

Digging into the options pits, today has seen an unusual increase in call volume. In fact, over 15,000 calls have changed hands, seven times the expected intraday amount and almost five times the number of puts traded so far. Most of this action is occurring at the weekly 11/13 280-strike call, where new positions are being opened, followed closely by the January 2022 330-strike call.

That penchant for calls has been the norm recently, per ULTA's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.56 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). That ratio stands in the 95th percentile of its annual range, suggesting a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late.

Lastly, at least one brokerage has chimed in with a price-target hike today, Piper Sandler upping their price target to $288 from $275. Coming into today, 15 of the 20 in coverage considered the equity a "strong buy." Meanwhile, Ulta stock's 12-month consensus target price of $272.61 is a 2.4% premium to current levels.

 

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