Gap Inc. (GPS) stock moves up, “Buy” rating reiterated by Jefferies Group Analysts

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) shares rose on Thursday Nov 17 with lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock and reiterated thier respective ratings.

Meanwhile, stocks opened flat this morning, struggling for direction in early trade ahead of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Ahead of an appearance before the Joint Economic Committee, Yellen said an interest-rate hike could come “relatively soon,”

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.25% fell less than 0.1% to 2,176.85 while Dow Industrials DJIA, -0.05% fell 9 points to 18,858. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.18% declined 0.1% to 5,291.48.

Analysts at Jefferies Group reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) in a reserach note to investors, making it one of the more closely watched stocks on Wall Street. With a rating of Buy on the stock, the company has a 52-week high of $30.55. A number of other analysts have commented on the stock recently, and the company has secured a consensus one-year price target of $25.21, lower than the opening price of $30.43. Share prices often move to the upside on recommendations and new price targets of professional analysts.

Shares of Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) opened at $30.43 on Monday and traded in a range between, $30.22 and $30.55, and last traded at $30.46, a spike of $0.03 or 0.10% over the previous closing price.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) currently has a market cap of 12.14B.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 5,821,640 shares out of a total float 227,980,000 and some 341,686 shares traded hands yesterday, below the average. Look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days as investors often use increases in trading volume to pinpoint heavy volume growth or distribution by institutional investors.

While an increase in trading for short periods will not mean much, however, a trend of heavy trading volume on the buy side over a period of days or weeks delivers a positive cue to market traders that institutions may be moving in, so institutional sponsorship is critical.

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

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

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) 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 traders to make those trends work in their favor and increase the number of successful trades.

With that in mind, Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) now has a 50-day MA of $26.14 and 200-day MA of $23.27. It has traded in a 52-week range between $17.00 – 30.55 and today’s last price is 0.29%% lower than the 52 week high of $30.55.

Earnings growth is a crucial factor to look at when investing in stocks and investors watch for companies that have raised their earnings by at least 25% over a 3 year period.

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