Can Amplify Snack Brands Keep Going After Last Week's 19% Pop?

By Rick Munarriz Markets Fool.com

Image source: Amplify Snack Brands.

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It's not just kernels popping at Amplify Snack Brands(NYSE: BETR)these days. Shares of the company behind SkinnyPop popcorn, Oatmega grass-fed whey bars, and Paqui ground-corn tortilla chips moved 18.85% higher last week following a pair of encouraging analyst notes. Amplify Snack Brands stock was one of last week's 10 biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange.

The "better-for-you" snacks specialist may be a broken IPO, but it's not a forgotten one. Consumer Edge upgraded the stock from neutral tooutperform on Wednesday morning. The firm has a price target of $11 on the stock.

D.A. Davidson stuck to its buy rating, reiterating that bullish position last week. Last week's analyst notes suggests that margins are well positioned to rise at Amplify Snack Brands, as a major customer embraced a higher-margin offering.

Sustenance between the meals

It's been generally a rough go for investors since Amplify Snack Brands went public at $18 in 2015. Even after last week's surge, the stock is trading trading more than a third below its IPO price.

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The stock would go on to hit new lows after its most recent quarter when it fell short of Wall Street profit targets in November. Net sales may have soared 48%, but a lot of that growth is coming from the small acquisitions that it has made over the past year to fortify its flagship SkinnyPop bagged popcorn line. Adjusted earnings clocked in flat as discounting, the product mix shift, and holding off on planned savings gnawed away at Amplify's margins.

The rough report and discouraging guidance crushed the stock at the time. A couple of analysts soured on the stock's prospects. It also didn't help that it filed a shelf registration just ahead of the sloppy report, giving early investors the opportunity to bail.

The stock took a step back last year, but it's bouncing back in a major way so far in 2017. It has moved higher in eight of the first nine trading days of the year, soaring 29% higher in the process.

Amplify has a shot at keeping the rally going. The Tyrrells acquisition that closed in September gives it leverage internationally. Armed with a broader product portfolio now than it had a year ago, it should also be able to command more respect if not shelf space from merchants.If Amplify Snack Brands can gain a few new outlets for its products as it gets around to its supply chain savings a hearty bottom line can go a long way to bringing investors back.

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Rick Munarriz owns shares of Amplify Snack Brands. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.