Heritage Financial Corporation (HFWA) Stock Up After Upgrade at Zacks Investment Research

Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) shares rose 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 Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) from Hold to Buy today. With a rating of Buy on the stock, the company has a 52-week high of $26.48. The one-year price target of $24.20 is lower than the opening price of $24.85, resulting a fair amount of other analysts to report on the company recently. Share prices often move to the upside on recommendations and new price targets of professional analysts.

Shares of Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) opened at $24.85 yesterday and traded in a range between, $24.85 and $25.35, and last traded at $25.35, which represents a spike of $0.35 from the previous closing price.

Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) currently has a market cap of 752.44M.

Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 101,267 shares out of a total float 28,858,000 and some 5,909 shares crossed the trading desk yesterday, 5 percent below the norm. lower than normal. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as swing traders often use upticks in trading volume to identify heavy volume accumulation or distribution by institutional investors.

However, a single day of heavy buy side trading is not enough to assert a trend. As such, market traders will continue to watch for institutional sponsorship as a signal that financial institutions are moving forward.

Institutional sponsorship just refers to ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

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

Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) 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, Heritage Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: HFWA) now has a 50-day MA of $24.60 and 200-day MA of $19.66. It has traded in a 52-week range between $16.40 – 26.48 and today’s last price is 4.25%% lower than the 52 week high of $26.48.

Earnings growth is an important factor to look at when buying stocks and investors identify companies that have raised their earnings by at least 25% over the past 3 years.

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