Analyst Update: El Pollo LoCo, Cardiovascular Systems

Analysts adjusted their ratings on El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LOCO), Cardiovascular Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSII), and Qualys Inc (NASDAQ:QLYS)

Oct 8, 2015 at 1:55 PM
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Analysts are weighing in today on chicken fanatic El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LOCO), medical concern Cardiovascular Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSII), and network security provider Qualys Inc (NASDAQ:QLYS). Here's a quick roundup of today's brokerage notes on LOCO, CSII, and QLYS.

  • It's been a rough few months for LOCO. The stock has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 39 percentage points during the past three months, and hit an all-time low of $10.16 just last Friday. Today, however, the shares have shot 8.6% higher to $12.02, thanks to a fresh "buy" rating at SunTrust Robinson, which waxed optimistic on LOCO's unique positioning of higher-quality and healthier food. This mirrors the general opinion on the Street, where 80% of brokerage firms say El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc is a "strong buy." However, LOCO isn't out of the clear yet. Today's upside momentum has stalled in the face of the equity's 40-day moving average. This trendline blocked the stock's breakout attempt in early August, and hasn't been topped on a closing basis since mid-May. 

  • After hitting a nearly three-year low of $11.80 earlier, CSII was last seen 19.4% lower at $13.40. Weighing on the stock is a flurry of negative brokerage attention, following the company's weak current-quarter outlook. Most notably, Leerink downgraded Cardiovascular Systems Inc to "market perform" from "outperform," while seriously slashing its price target to $17 from $45. BofA-Merrill Lynch also weighed in, downgrading CSII to "underperform" from "buy" and slicing its target to $15. This may be the development short sellers have been waiting for. Short interest has grown over 28% since the beginning of June, and it would now take more than two weeks for bears to buy back their bets, at the stock's normal daily volumes. 

  • QLYS scored an upgrade to "outperform" from "neutral" at Credit Suisse, pushing the shares 5% higher to $32.62. The brokerage firm also raised its price target by $10 to $45, and said QLYS is "well positioned to defend and expand its leadership in the growing security-as-a-service market." The upbeat attention has overshadowed a price-target cut to $37 from $44 at RBC last night. In the options pits, Qualys Inc's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.27 is higher than 93% of all readings from the past year. In short, put buying has been way more popular than usual in recent weeks. 

For other stocks in analysts' crosshairs, read Analyst Upgrades: VeriFone Systems Inc, Visa Inc, and Zumiez Inc.  and Analyst Downgrades: Groupon Inc, Statoil ASA, and Blackstone Group LP.

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