Analyst Update: EXACT Sciences, F5 Networks, NuVasive

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

Mark Fightmaster
Oct 6, 2015 at 1:21 PM
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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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