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Thursday Morning Pre-Market Insights: Bank of America Corp (BAC), Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras SA (ADR) (PBR), La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (LJPC), Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW)

By Kate George

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) spiked 0.82% in pre-market trading to $16.03 after the stock was upgraded from Market Perform to Outperform by Matthew Burnell of Wells Fargo. After years of analyst apprehension on the bank following the 2008 financial crisis, analysts seem to be coming around now that the bank is done dealing with legacy issues, cost cutting, and changing their ways pursuant to new regulations that arose after the recession. Yesterday, three analysts weighed in with bullish sentiments on the company, noting that Bank of America would not be impacted as harshly if the Fed raises interest rates. Furthermore, the analysts cited confidence in the bank’s ability to increase revenue and keep costs down moving forward. According to the 15 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 12 are bullish on BAC, 2 are neutral, and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target between the 15 analysts is $19.46, marking a 23% potential upside from where shares last closed.

Click here to see Matthew Burnell’s past rating history and performance.

Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras SA (ADR) (NYSE:PBR) fell 6.88% in pre-market trading down to $4.74 after the S&P downgraded Brazil’s rating by one step to BB+ with a negative outlook, meaning that another cut is possible. The cut comes as Brazil’s slowing economy is failing to support its finances, putting pressure on its economic team to either cut spending or raise taxes. PBR, or Petrobras, is a semi-public Brazilian oil company so it was also hit by a slip in oil prices. Yesterday, oil barrels fell below $45; a two-week low in the one-year saga of tumultuous oil prices. Furthermore, the Energy Information Administration lowered its outlook for crude oil prices, extending into next year. According to the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 1 is bullish on the oil company and two are bearish. The average 12-month price target between the 3 analysts is $9.50, marking an 87% potential upside from where shares last closed.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ:LJPC) fell 9% in pre-market trading down to $38.50 after the pharmaceutical company announced its intention to sell shares of common stock in an underwritten offering. Jefferies will serve as the book-running manager to the offering and net proceeds will go to general corporate purposes, such as funding clinical trials and covering potential future acquisitions. The company has three main pipeline products: LJPC-501 to treat forms of hypotension; LJPC-401 to treat symptoms of too much iron; LJPC-30Sa and LJPC-30Sb to treat serious bacterial infections and disorders such as cystic and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. According to TipRanks, Gbola Amusa weighed in on the company two days ago before the offering announcement, reiterating his Buy rating and raising his price target from $60 to $80, citing his confidence in the pipeline therapies. His $80 price target marks a nearly 90% potential upside from where the stock last closed.

Click here to see Gbola Amusa’s past rating history and performance.

Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) is up 6.56% in pre-market trading to $176 after the cyber security company released fiscal fourth quarter 2015 results yesterday after market close, posting its biggest revenue increase in the past 10 quarters. The company posted non-GAAP EPS of $0.28, beating the analyst estimate of $0.25 and up from $0.11 in the same quarter of last year. Palo Alto reported quarterly revenue of $283.9 million, beating the estimate of $255.85 million and marking an impressive 59% year-over-year increase. FBR Analyst Daniel Ives reiterated a bullish rating on the company with a $20 price target, commenting, “I believe they are only about 10-15 percent penetrated in the market, so there is a lot of room to grow in the coming years.” TipRanks has polled 17 analysts on PANW in the last 3 months, of which 16 are bullish on the stock and 1 is neutral. As of this writing, 8 of the 15 analysts reiterated their bullish sentiments today. On average, the 12-month price target on the cyber security company is $202.24, marking a 23% potential upside from where shares last closed.

Click here to see Daniel Ives’ past rating history and performance.