Why Myriad Genetics, Activision Blizzard, and Cars.com Jumped Today

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Major market benchmarks plunged on Wednesday after President Trump stoked fears of an escalating trade war by threatening to impose another $200 billion in import tariffs on Chinese goods.

But not every company saw red. Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ: MYGN), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), and Cars.com (NYSE: CARS) each soared Wednesday.

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Myriad Genetics gets an upgrade

Myriad Genetics stock popped 13.2% after Morgan Stanley analyst Steve Beachaw upgraded shares of the molecular diagnostic company to overweight from equal weight. He also increased his per-share price target on the stock to $55 from $35, or a nearly 45% premium from Tuesday's close.

Beuchaw pointed to a number of factors to justify his optimism, among them the company's more durable-than-expected core hereditary cancer testing business, its planned operating expense reductions, a recently announced agreement to acquire prenatal testing company Counsyl for $375 million, and incremental upside related to its GeneSight genetic test, which it bought through its acquisition of Assurex in 2016.

For now, Beuchaw says he'll be watching Myriad's August quarterly report for fiscal 2019 guidance, which -- if it's as encouraging as he suspects it will be -- could serve as "a key catalyst" for other analysts to follow suit.

Activision Blizzard's new ESPN deal

Shares of Activision Blizzard climbed 3.2% after the video game giant announced an exclusive multiyear agreement with ESPN and Disney XD for live broadcast coverage of Overwatch League esports events.

Both networks will provide coverage on live broadcast and through their respective streaming apps starting with Overwatch League playoffs today. And though the wildly popular esports league's inaugural season will conclude with live coverage of the finals on both networks on July 27 and July 28, Disney's ABC will air a recap and highlights show on July 29. This will mark the first time a live competitive gaming event will air on ESPN in primetime.

Though esports events routinely command audiences in the tens of millions, for many investors, this signals the start of truly mainstream adoption for the genre.

Cars.com slaps its roof

Finally, shares of Cars.com jumped 8% after The New York Post reported the online car retailer has formally begun the process of searching for a buyer. A report in late May had asserted that Cars.com was evaluating strategic options, including a possible sale of the business. Since then, however, The Post says Cars.com has begun handing out sales books to prospective acquirers, including private equity firms and automotive magazine publisher Hearst Corporation.

It remains to be seen, however, how high a premium Cars.com can command. But with shares already up more than 30% since news of its potential sale broke, let it suffice to say recent investors are more than pleased with their returns so far.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.