Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) Downgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Analysts at Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) from Buy to Hold in a research note to investors today. With a rating of Hold on the stock, the company has a 52-week high of $80.68. The one-year price target of $84.39 is above the opening price of $74.19, causing a fair amount of other analysts to issue statements on the company recently. Downgrades are more likely when analysts feel that the future prospects for the security have weakened from the original recommendation, usually due to a material and integral change in the company’s actions, future vision or industry.

The Fed stood pat on interest rates on Wednesday, helping stocks to mostly higher levels but Chairwoman Janet Yellen indicated an interest rate hike is likely by year’s end

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 SPX, +1.09% ended 1.1% higher, while the Dow DJIA, +0.90% jumped by 0.9%, or 164 points, as each exchange finished in positive territory for a second consecutive day.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.03% tacked on 1% and scored a record closing high.

S&P 500 futures ESZ6, +0.36% were up 6.55 points, or 0.3%, to 2,162.75 early Thursday, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ6, +0.37% rose 58 points, or 0.3%, to 18,276. Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ6, +0.39% gained 16.25 points, or 0.3%, to 4,866.25.

Shares of Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) opened at $74.19 yesterday trading between $74.01 and $75.88, and last traded at $75.76, which is a spike of $1.12 from the previous closing price.

Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) now has a market cap of 3.18B.

645,012 shares traded hands yesterday, higher than normal, out of a total float 40,872,000. Large expansions in trading volume and price inflation together could indicate excessive volume accumulation by institutional investors.

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

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

Institutional investors such as these have substantial teams of analysts that research thousands of stocks. So watching their interests is a good way to ensure you are buying the right stocks.

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

With that in mind, Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) now has a 50-day MA of $76.08 and 200-day MA of $63.17. It has traded in a 52-week range between $35.56 – 80.68 and today’s last price is 0.06% lower than the 52 week high of $80.68.

Earnings growth is a crucial factor to consider when buying stocks and investors seek companies that have been successful at growing their earnings by at least 25% over the past 3 years.

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