Analyst: This Healthcare Stock Could Quadruple After Earnings

William Blair weighed in on VTL stock ahead of key events

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Aug 6, 2018 at 2:37 PM
Updated on Aug 6, 2018 at 2:37 PM

Shares of Vital Therapies Inc (NASDAQ:VTL) touched a two-year high of $9 earlier, and are in the black today thanks to some very upbeat analyst attention ahead of the company's earnings report, set for release after the close tomorrow, Aug. 7. William Blair upgraded VTL stock to "outperform" from "market perform," and hiked its fair value to $35 from $10 -- more than four times the security's close of $8.10 on Friday. The analyst waxed optimistic on Vital Therapies' extracorporeal liver-assist device (ELAD), lifting their global peak sales estimate for the ELAD ahead of top-line data due in September.

VTL has already nearly tripled in the past year, and has rallied more than 50% in the past three months alone, recently breaking north of resistance in the $6.50 area. Now, the shares are on pace to end atop a recent speed bump in the $8.50 region. At last check, Vital Therapies stock was up 7.4% to trade at $8.70.

VTL stock chart august 6

Should the company exceed earnings expectations later this week, there's plenty of room on the bullish bandwagon. Just two brokerage firms cover the stock, and one maintains a tepid "hold" rating. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $9 is in line with VTL stock's new high. A round of upgrades, positive analyst initiations, or a flood of price-target hikes could add fuel to Vital Therapies' fire.

Meanwhile, a short squeeze could also propel VTL even higher. Short interest represents nearly 32% of the stock's total available float, or nearly 27 sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the equity's average pace of trading.

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