from the desk of Dr. Terry F Allen

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Clean Up with Cintas (CTAS)

Cintas (CTAS) may not be in an exciting business – the company provides uniforms, cleaning and restroom supplies, first aid supplies and fire extinguishers – but its recent earnings report was anything but boring. The company easily beat profit forecasts and slightly beat sales projections. Even the low end of the company’s projected EPS range for fiscal 2022 is well above the analyst estimate. The only smudge on the report was the projected sales estimate, which came in below forecasts. Nevertheless, the report was greeted with a slew of target price increases that ranged as high as $450 (the stock closed on Friday at $386).

The initial reaction to the earnings was a 2.6% drop on Thursday. But the stock popped 4.6% on Friday, resuming its recent breakout above a trading range that has dominated in 2021. More importantly, the shares found strong support at the 365 level (red line in chart), which has defined the top of the trading range going back to November. CTAS trades only monthly options in 10-point increments, so we’re using the 380 short strike (green line) for a put credit spread. This is just above the stock’s 20-day moving average (blue line).

CTAS Chart

If you agree that CTAS will stay above its 20-day moving average, consider the following trade that relies on the stock remaining above 380 through expiration in five weeks.

Buy to Open CTAS 20Aug 370 put (CTAS210820P370)
Sell to Open CTAS 20Aug 380 put (CTAS210820P380) for a credit of $3.15 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.05 less than the mid-point of the option spread when CTAS was trading at $386. Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will be only $1.30 per spread.  Each spread would then yield $313.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $1,000 and makes your net investment $686.30 ($1,000 – $313.70).  If CTAS closes above $380 on August 20, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 46% ($313.70 / $686.30).

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