One of the standouts of today's morning trading session was Freshpet, which logged a 2.0% performance and outperformed the S&P 500 by 2.0%. The Packaged Foods stock is now trading at $70.93 per share and may still have upside potential because it is still -6.83% under its average target price of $76.13. Analysts have set target prices ranging from $55.0 to $100.0 dollars per share, and have given the stock an average rating of buy.
For the greater market's outlook on the stock, we can use Freshpet's short interest as a proxy. The short interest represents the proportion of the float's shares that are tied to short positions, meaning that the investor believes the stock will decline in the future. Here, the stock's short interest is 14.1% which means the outlook is split.
When a stock is sold short, it means an investor has borrowed shares of the stock from their broker, and then sold them at the going market price. The investor hopes for the price to decline, so that they might buy those shares back at a lower price in the future. Once they do, they can return the borrowed shares to their broker, and keep the profit they made on the transaction.
Another way to gauge the sentiment on Freshpet is to look at the percentage of institutions that are invested in the stock. In this case, 119.5% of the shares are held by pension, mutual, and hedge funds, which shows that these institutions probably have strong confidence in the stock.
If institutions are invested in a particular stock, it shows in most cases that they have performed quality research and concluded that it is a good investment. In some cases, however, increases in institutional ownership could be a sign of a takeover attempt or proxy fight, which can actually injure share prices. Also, institutions are not infallible, and can certainly make miscalculations -- often with spectacular results.
In conclusion, we see mixed market sentiment regarding Freshpet because of an analyst consensus of some upside potential, a buy rating, an above average percentage of its shares sold short, and a significant number of institutional investors. At Market Inference, we believe that any investment decision should be preceded by an in-depth analysis of the company's fundamental values and a comparison with similar stocks.
Here's a snapshot of some important facts to keep in mind about FRPT:
The stock has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $-1.3
Freshpet has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of -54.6 compared to the S&P 500 average of 15.97
The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 3.3 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95
Freshpet is a Consumer Defensive company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 24.36 and 4.29 respectively