Shares of Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) were moving up on Friday after a key analyst upgraded the stock and said the company looks likely to rebound well from the coronavirus pandemic.
As of 12:00 p.m. EDT, Ulta Beauty's shares were trading up about 8.7% from Thursday's closing price.
In a note on Friday morning, Citigroup analyst Kelly Crago upgraded Ulta Beauty to buy, from neutral, with a price target of $205 per share. Crago wrote that she believes Ulta's long-term earnings growth story is intact despite the near-term impact of the pandemic and that its business is likely to "rebound strongly" as the outbreak fades.
Ulta has closed all of its stores through at least March 31 in response to "social distancing" measures recommended by health authorities to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The company will continue to pay its store employees through the shutdowns, CEO Mary Dillon said earlier this week.
Dillon and her team have made all the right moves so far, impressing investors by taking quick action to protect customers and employees while preserving some revenue flow via the company's online store. While it's not clear when things in the United States will begin to return to "normal," it seems likely that Ulta will be in better shape than at least some department-store chains -- which might allow it to gain some market share later in the year.