Jill: Selling to picky consumers is a tough business for Hain Celestial Group(HAIN) or anyone else in the specialty food space. But some companies are better equipped to face the future than others and our job is to help you identify outperformers in any given sector by analyzing the fundamentals, charts and clues from the options action.
Strategic investments plus continued efforts to contain costs, increase productivity, and enhance cash flows and margins have enabled it to deliver healthy results. Rise in consumption, innovative marketing and expanded distribution facilitated the company to post healthy sales and earnings numbers during first quarter 2013.
From a technical perspective, HAIN is currently trending above its 50-day moving average and just below its 200-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock has been uptrending slightly over the last month, and during that uptrend, shares of HAIN have been mostly making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.
In just about every tag team I have done with Skip, I have said time and time again that 2013 will be a great year for the industrial and tech spaces due to the increase in capex spend. Another trend I expect to drive the tape is an increase in M&A and LBO activity due to the health of balance sheets and all of the cash that companies have accumulated over the past few years. That has to be unlocked in an effort to create shareholder value (not just via dividend increases and share buybacks). Cramer happens to agree with that as it pertains to HAIN. On CNBC, he said, "If I were running Campbell's Soup (CPB), a company devoid of serious organic growth, I would take the cheap money every bank is offering and I would purchase HAIN." For more of Cramer's M&A ideas, take the time to CLICK HERE and check out the full clip from CNBC.
My concern with HAIN is the lack of a dividend which limits the investor base to those wanting exposure to health-conscious foods, which is an industry that's seeing an increasing level of competition. In addition, the company reports tomorrow and I lean towards waiting for a better entry point before mimicking Icahn's stake in the stock. (Skip will get into that more). Something is going to happen in HAIN's price action and this how Skip and I would trade the name using one of our favorite strategies, the vertical call spread.
Skip: HAIN is in the business of processed and packaged goods. You might currently drink their popular Celestial Seasonings tea or eaten their Health Valley organic brand foods. You might also know that the Icahn family has been accumulating HAIN since 2010. That total ownership holding of the Icahn group according to HAIN financial data listed on Yahoo! Finance has grown to be over 15% of the total float as of now.
Today, (February 5), HAIN will report earnings for the last quarter which ended in December. Consensus expects $0.69 per share, a 33% gain over the previous year's performance. For fiscal year 2013, ending this June, HAIN analysts expect the company to have earned $2.42 per share, a 30% increase over 2012's $1.86 per share results.
Looking at HAIN's charts shows the stock is forming my coiling pattern. Thus, I do expect a volatility expansion to be in play soon. HAIN has a very small float of 46 million shares of which 15% of that float has been sold short. Normally I avoid such a small float stock, but this type of combination (small float and big % of that float sold short) can set off its own brand of volatility fireworks without a coiling pattern in play! Add the coil to this combustible mix and it is time for a speculative options trade.
HAIN has a very good chance to find new buyers for their stock, what little of it there is floating. Thus HAIN has the potential to move up (and down) in price rather sharply and quickly.
The trade tactic I prefer now for HAIN is the bullish out-of-the-money vertical call spread. This trade is a 100% controlled risk set up designed to profit from HAIN once again trading above 60 in the short term.
Trades: Buy to open 3 HAIN March 60 calls for $2.70 and sell to open 3 HAIN March 65 calls at $1.20.
As always, I will monitor the trade on this site in the comments section below.