Cognex's Stock Soars After Analyst Touts Company's Factory Automation Business

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Cognex Corp. ran up 6.2% in afternoon trade toward a record close, after Deutsche Bank's bullish call, given that it is in the sweet spot of the factory automation trend, which could get a boost from potential trade protectionist policies. Analyst Karen Lau started Cognex at a buy with a stock price target of $74, which is 17% above current levels. Lau said the Cognex's product sales for factory automation applications have exceeded the machine vision industry's growth rate over the past 10 years. She expects increased growth in the mobile computing market, rising machine vision content in consumer electronics assembly lines, 3D products adoption and China automation investments. "Automation investment boost by potential protectionist trade policies--which could drive manufacturers domestically and overseas to invest more heavily in automation to improve efficiency and competitiveness--would also contribute positively to our thesis," Lau wrote in a note to clients. The stock has soared 15% in the month since the election, compared with the a 2.1% gain in the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF and a 5.1% rise in the S&P 500 .

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