December 5, 2022
Ulta Beauty (ULTA) reported impressive earnings on Thursday after the bell that beat estimates on all counts. Earnings came in more than a dollar higher than expectations, while revenue beat by more than 4%. Same-store sales came in a whopping 60% above the analyst number. Moreover, ULTA raised full-year guidance for both earnings and sales. Significantly, the common complaints of supply chain constraints and slower consumer spending were absent from ULTA’s report and follow-up call.
Analysts cheered the news, hitting the stock with several target price increases, though there were no rating upgrades. Even so, the consensus price target is just a mere 4% above ULTA’s Friday close, while more than half the covering analysts rate the stock a hold. This suggests that future upgrades and target increases are possible, which could give the stock a boost.
Despite the solid report, ULTA was flat on Friday. Perhaps this is because the stock is on an impressive 26% rally since late October. In fact, ULTA hit an all-time high on Friday. This rally has been tracked by the 20-day moving average, although the trendline has not been tested for the past month. We are going with a safer trade this week, going further out of the money than usual with the short strike that is sitting right on the 20-day, as shown in the chart.
This trade is based on ULTA continuing its rally on the heels of a strong earnings report. That said, we are giving the stock about 7% of downside room before the spread moves into the money. If you agree that ULTA will continue its rally – or at least remain atop the 20-day (blue line) – consider the following trade that relies on the stock staying above $440 (red line) through expiration in seven weeks:
Buy to Open the ULTA 20 Jan 435 put (ULTA230120P435)
Sell to Open the ULTA 20 Jan 440 put (ULTA230120P440) for a credit of $1.00 (selling a vertical)
This credit is $0.05 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $471.33 close. Unless ULTA surges quickly, you should be able to get close to that price.
The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $98.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500, making your net investment $401.30 per spread ($500 – $98.70). If ULTA closes above $440 on Jan. 20, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 25% ($98.70/$401.30).