nLight, Inc. (NASDAQ: LASR) popped up on Marketbeat.com’s analyst-tracking radar when it received two positive analyst updates on the same day. The updates include an upgrade and two price target increases that suggest a significant upside for the stock.
What is nLIGHT, Inc.? nLIGHT, Inc. is a cutting-edge laser technology company that has been developing its products for more than two decades. It advanced semiconductor and fiber lasers during that time and has exposure to a broad range of end markets. Its products are used in industrial, aerospace, medical and defense systems, providing a well-diversified business model.
nLIGHT, Inc. was upgraded because of a new contract from the Army that could catapult it into the big leagues. This emerging tech is focused on lasers, and the Army wants to use them as part of its defense modernization efforts. If you think this sounds futuristic, it is, but like they say, the future is now.
Benchmark issued the upgrade to Speculative Buy from Hold and pegged the highest price target of any analyst to its outlook and believes the Army’s test could lead to dozens of follow-on orders, significantly increasing revenue and profitability.
Benchmark sees the stock moving up to the $17 range, which is about a 30% upside and a cautious target if the Army views the tests as successful. If not, nLIGHT could retreat into obscurity.
nLIGHT, Inc. awarded a $34.5 million contract
nLIGHT, Inc., acting as a sub-contractor, was awarded a $34.5 million contract from the Army for one of its high-energy laser systems. The company will provide a 50kWH-level system for the U.S. Army’s Rapid Capabilities Critical Technologies Office Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense prototyping effort. The system will be mounted to a Stryker Combat Vehicle for testing against air and missile attacks. The Army wants to use the system against various target types, including rotary, fixed-wing and drone aircraft.
Jeff Barchers, President of nLIGHT DEFENSE Systems, commented, “Our integrated HEL and beam control solutions use adaptive optics to focus more power on target and maximize laser lethality.”
This contract is in addition to another award issued a month earlier. The DoD’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative doubled an existing contract to over $170 million for developing High Energy Lasers.
Insiders and institutions have skin in the game
One method of determining a company’s worth is to view its ownership, and this company is widely owned. The insiders own about 5.5% of the shares, the CEO owns more than 2%, and institutional holdings are more robust. The institutions have bought this stock on balance for 12 of the last 13 consecutive quarters and own about 85% of the stock. Much of the holdings are in mutual and index funds, but individual stakeholders hold at least 35%. The largest holders include Vanguard, BlackRock and JPMorgan, accounting for roughly 25%.
Details from the Q3 results are mixed but suggest the company is at an inflection point. While the tepid demand environment is curbing strength now, the company has made several design wins and has a growing pipeline of development contracts. The company is looking at 2024 as a growth year and may be cautious in its outlook. Analysts are forecasting about 10% of top-line growth.
The technical outlook: nLIGHT, Inc. is laser-focused on higher prices
The technical outlook for LASR is promising, with the market showing a solid bottom near $8.50. That bottom has been tested and confirmed three times, and the market is moving higher. The move is supported as much by the contract wins and 2024 outlook as by the analysts. Assuming the company can build on its momentum, the consensus $14.70 price target and the high $17 price target will soon fall. In this scenario, the market could continue into the $20 range.