Analyst Update: EXACT Sciences Corporation, F5 Networks, Inc., and NuVasive, Inc.

Analysts adjusted their ratings on EXACT Sciences Corporation (EXAS), F5 Networks, Inc. (FFIV), and NuVasive, Inc. (NUVA)

by Mark Fightmaster

Published on Oct 6, 2015 at 1:21 PM

Analysts are weighing in today on diagnostics company EXACT Sciences Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAS), software firm F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV), and surgical concern NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on EXAS, FFIV, and NUVA.

  • EXAS is 43% lower at $10.51, and earlier hit a two-year low of $9.90, after the company announced that its colon cancer screening test, Cologuard, received a disappointing recommendation from a medical task force. The poor rating prompted a series of price-target cuts for EXACT Sciences Corporation: Benchmark downgraded EXAS to "hold" and lowered its price target to $11 from $34; Goldman Sachs cut its price target to $11 from $24; and Craig-Hallum moved its price target for EXAS to $22 from $30. Technically, the stock has dropped 68% since tagging an all-time high of $32.85 in June. Despite this drop, analysts maintain a bullish stance toward the diagnostics firm. At last check, 10 of the 13 brokerage following EXAS rate it a "strong buy." Downgrades from this lofty perch could apply more downside pressure to the stock. Option players echo this bullish sentiment, as the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 18.62 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) indicates that calls outstrip puts at a pace greater than 18-to-1. What's more, this reading is in the 90th percentile of its annual range, hinting at a bigger-than-usual bullish bias. Capitulation from this bullish crew could spark further negative momentum.

  • FFIV is 4.9% lower at $116.05, after Citigroup started the stock with a "sell" rating and a $105 price target -- in annual low territory. The brokerage attributed the coverage to the belief that F5 Networks, Inc. will lower its guidance at some point in the next six months. Since hitting a near-term high of $135.20 at the end of July, shares of FFIV have fallen 14%. Short sellers have been upping the bearish ante, as short interest rose 17.2% during the past two reporting periods. These pessimistic positions would take more than nine sessions to repurchase, at FFIV's average daily trading volume.
  • BMO upgraded NUVA to "outperform"from "market perform" and raised its price target to $64 from $52 . Likewise, Canaccord Genuity last night upped its opinion to "buy" from "hold" and hiked its price target by $6 to $58. Still, after jumping as high as $55.98 in early trading, shares of NuVasive, Inc. are 0.8% lower at $52.08, as healthcare stocks lag. Despite boasting a year-to-date gain of 10.6%, options players rest on the bearish side of the sentiment spectrum. NUVA's 50-day put/call volume ratio on the ISE/CBOE/PHLX comes in at 1.54. This reading is higher than 88% of the readings taken during the past 52 weeks. 
For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: Cisco Systems, Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc, and Paypal Holdings Inc and Analyst Downgrades: Skyworks Solutions Inc, Tesla Motors Inc, and Twitter Inc.

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