Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) Shares Active after Upgrade at Longbow Research

Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) shares rose in value early 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.

Analysts at Longbow Research upgraded shares of Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) from Neutral to Buy today. With a rating of Buy on the stock, Panera Bread Co. has a 52-week high of $224.15. As a means of comparison, a number of other analysts have issued reports on the stock recently, and Panera Bread Co. has earned a consensus one-year price target of $237.29, above the opening price of $192.58, a difference of 12.21 percent. Share prices sometimes get a boost to the upside when analysts upgrade a stock.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures on Monday pointed to a higher open, as investors prepared for the start of earnings season

S&P 500 futures ESZ6, +0.44% rose by 9 points, or 0.4%, to 2,155.50, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ6, +0.40% gained 64 points, or 0.4%, to 18,221.

Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ6, +0.42% tacked on 17.75 points, or 0.4%, to 4,876.75.Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures on Monday pointed to a higher open, as investors prepared for the start of earnings season

Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) shares last traded at $194.37, a spike of $5.09 or 0.03 over the previous closing price. Opening at $192.58, they varied from $191.96 and $194.47 throughout the day.

Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) now has a market cap of 4.58B.

Panera Bread Co.Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 473,628 shares out of a total float 19,794,000 and some 94,754 shares traded hands yesterday, below normal. Investors often use swings in trading volume to pinpoint large volume growth or dissemination by institutional investors, so look for trading volume to pick up in the coming days.

As with all potential breakouts, investors look for volume to be at least 40%-50% greater than normal on the breakout to indicate that fund managers and other professional investors are jumping in.

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

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

Panera Bread Co. 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 winning trades.

Trades for Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) have ranged from $165.17 – 224.15, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $205.36 and 200-day MA of $211.13. Today’s last price is 0.13% under the 52 week high of $224.15.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most crucial things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors identify companies that have been successful at growing their earnings by at least 25% over the past 3 years.

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