A History of Outperforming Analyst Forecasts and Beating the Odds: Pliant Therapeutics Inc. (PLRX)

Pliant Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: PLRX) stock jumped 11.19% on Friday to $21.16 against a previous-day closing price of $19.03. With 1.42 million shares changed hands, the volume of the stock remained lighter than its average volume of 2.02 million shares. During the session, the Biotechnology company that operates in wider Healthcare sector, reached to the highest price of $21.56 whereas the lowest price it dropped to was $19.24. The 52-week range on PLRX shows that it touched its highest point at $24.17 and its lowest point at $3.96 during that stretch. It currently has a 1-year price target of $42.88.

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Price Performance and Earnings:

Stock performance is one of the indicators that investors use to determine whether they will profit from a stock. The price performance of PLRX was up-trending over the past week, with a rise of 22.38%, but this was down by -8.00% over a month. Three-month performance surged to 374.44% while six-month performance rose 92.54%. The stock lost -8.68% in the past year, while it has gained 56.74% so far this year. A look at the trailing 12-month EPS for PLRX yields -2.85 with Next year EPS estimates of -3.48. For the next quarter, that number is -0.81. This implies an EPS growth rate of -39.40% for this year and -8.70% for next year.

Float and Shares Shorts:

At present, 36.12 million PLRX shares are outstanding with a float of 32.93 million shares on hand for trading. On Jul 14, 2022, short shares totaled 2.57 million, which was 5.28% higher than short shares on Jun 14, 2022. In addition to Dr. Bernard Coulie M.B.A., M.D., MBA, Ph.D. as the firm’s Pres, CEO & Director, Dr. Keith Lamont Cummings M.B.A., M.D. serves as its Chief Financial Officer.

Institutional Ownership:

Through their ownership of 89.01% of PLRX’s outstanding shares, institutional investors have majority control over the company. Other institutions hold 46.23% of PLRX, in contrast to 2.69% held by mutual funds. Shares owned by individuals account for 19.25%. As the largest shareholder in PLRX with 13.73% of the stake, Fidelity Management & Research Co holds 4,966,161 shares worth 4,966,161. A second-largest stockholder of PLRX, Redmile Group LLC, holds 3,080,801 shares, controlling over 8.52% of the firm’s shares. CHI Advisors LLC is the third largest shareholder in PLRX, holding 2,657,457 shares or 7.35% stake. With a 2.69% stake in PLRX, the Fidelity Select Port. – Biotechno is the largest stakeholder. A total of 971,031 shares are owned by the mutual fund manager. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, which owns about 1.99% of PLRX stock, is the second-largest Mutual Fund holder. It holds 718,287 shares valued at 5.75 million. Fidelity Growth Company Fund holds 1.55% of the stake in PLRX, owning 559,463 shares worth 4.48 million.

Analysts Ratings:

Reading analyst opinions is an effective way to decide where to invest, and there are several opinions available for PLRX since 9 analysts follow the stock currently. There are 9 analysts who recommend BUY ratings, while 0 suggest SELL ratings. Of the remaining analysts, 0 believe that the stock is worth HOLDING, 0 give it an OVERWEIGHT rating, and 0 thinks that it’s UNDERWEIGHT. In the same way, a target price assigned to a stock can also reveal much about its potential. With PLRX analysts setting a high price target of $54.00 and a low target of $33.00, the average target price over the next 12 months is $44.25. Based on these targets, PLRX could surge 155.2% to reach the target high and rise by 55.95% to reach the target low. Reaching the average price target will result in a growth of 109.12% from current levels.

EPS: Estimates vs Actual

It is also common to use earnings estimates to evaluate a firm’s growth potential and to determine trading strategy. PLRX will report FY 2022 earnings on 03/14/2023. Analysts have provided yearly estimates in a range of -$2.52 being high and -$3.44 being low. For PLRX, this leads to a yearly average estimate of -$3.04. The earnings surprise of a firm occurs when the actual results change from the consensus earnings estimate. Pliant Therapeutics Inc. reported -$0.82 EPS against a consensus estimate of -$0.82. The surprise factor in the prior quarter was -$0.03. Based on analyst estimates, the high estimate for the next quarter is -$0.65 and the low estimate is -$0.89. The average estimate for the next quarter is thus -$0.74.

Summary of Insider Activity:

Insiders traded PLRX stock several times over the past three months with 2 Buys and 3 Sells. In these transactions, 27,498 shares were bought while 30,498 shares were sold. The number of buy transactions has increased to 3 while that of sell transactions has risen to 3 over the past year. The total number of shares bought during that period was 47,498 while 30,498 shares were sold.

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