Agrium Inc. (AGU) Shares Tick Up after Upgrade at Atlantic Securities

Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) shares rose in value in early trading today on lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock with a upgraded rating.

U.S. stocks flipped between small losses and gains early Tuesday morning as investors maintained a cautious stance following a sharp postelection rally.

The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.04% was off by about 1 point, or less than 0.1%, at 2,267, with seven of the 11 main sectors trading lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.13% was off 33 points, or 0.2%, to 19,853.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.05% traded in record territory, after closing at an all-time high for the second session in a row on Monday.

Analysts at Atlantic Securities upgraded shares of Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) from to Overweight today. With a rating of Overweight on the stock, the company has a 52-week high of $109.73. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have spoken on the stock recently, and Agrium Inc. has earned a consensus one-year price target of $100.03, a decrease compared to the opening price of $103.58, a difference of 9.71 percent. Stock prices sometimes get a jump to the upside when analysts upgrade a stock.

Yesterday Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) shares last traded at $103.06, which is an increase of $0.54 from the previous closing price. Opening at $103.58, they ranged from $102.68 and $104.20 throughout the day.

Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) currently has a market cap of 14.24B.

Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) Average Daily Trading Volume

56,437 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 103 percent below the average, out of a total float 138,059,000. lower than normal. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as swing traders often use increases in trading volume to identify heavy volume accumulation or distribution by institutional investors.

While increased trading for short periods will not mean much will not mean much, conversely, a trend of heavy trading volume on the buy side over a period of days or weeks sends a positive signal to market traders that institutions may be moving in, so institutional sponsorship is very important.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Professional investors such as these retain substantial teams of analysts that research thousands of stocks, so it is good corroboration to see them buying a stock you’re researching.

Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By spotting trends, moving averages allow investors to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

With that in mind, Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) now has a 50-day MA of $101.55 and 200-day MA of $94.30. It has traded in a 52-week range between $79.94 – 109.73 and today’s last price is 6.08%% lower than the 52 week high of $109.73.

Earnings growth is a critical factor to research when buying stocks and investors watch for companies that have grown their earnings by at least 25% over the past 3 years.

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