ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) stock down despite upgrade at Zacks Investment Research

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) shares slid back in value in early trading today on lighter 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 Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) from Strong Sell to Buy today. Zacks Investment Research currently has a rating of Buy on the shares. A number of other analysts have issued reports on the stock in recent days, and ConAgra Foods Inc. has earned a consensus one-year price target of $40.75, higher than the opening price of $38.39, a difference of 10.64 percent. ConAgra Foods Inc. stock has a 52-week high of $39.97. Stock prices sometimes get a boost to the upside when analysts upgrade a stock.

Yesterday ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) shares last traded at $38.31, which represents a drop of $0.14 over the previous closing price. Opening at $38.39, they varied from $38.30 and $38.57 throughout the day.

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) now has a market cap of 16.67B.

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 3,677,680 shares out of a total float 433,628,000 and some 170,647 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 46 percent lower than the norm. lower than normal. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as momentum traders often use upticks in trading volume to identify heavy volume accumulation or distribution by institutional investors.

While increased trading for one day will not mean much, however, 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.

Institutional investors such as these retain teams of analysts that research thousands of stocks. Thus, watching their interests is a good way to make sure you are buying the right stocks.

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) 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 tracking the activity of these professional investors—and the moving averages they affect—it allows for traders to make more effective decisions on trades.

With that in mind, ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) now has a 50-day MA of $38.26 and 200-day MA of $36.72. It has traded in a 52-week range between $29.55 – 39.970 and today’s last price is 4.17%% lower than the 52 week high of $39.97.

Earnings growth is a critical factor to consider when investing in stocks and investors identify companies that have grown their earnings at least 25% or more for a 3 year period.

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