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Why These Five Stocks Are Trending Today

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The US stock market is trading lower on Wednesday amid lower oil prices and in-line August payroll figures reported by Automatic Data Processing.

In this article, we examine why five companies, Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW), Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX), H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB), and AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) are in the spotlight today. In addition, we’ll take a look at what the smart money investors from our database think about these companies.

At Insider Monkey, we track around 750 hedge funds and institutional investors. Through extensive backtests, we have determined that imitating some of the stocks that these investors are collectively bullish on, can help retail investors generate double digits of alpha per year. The key is to focus on the small-cap picks of these funds, which are usually less followed by the broader market and allow for larger price inefficiencies (see the details here).

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Analyst Downgrade at Dollar General 

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) shares are nearly 3% in the red after analysts at Atlantic Equities downgraded the stock to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Overweight’. The analysts also cut their price target to $78 per share from the previous $99 per share, citing difficulty deciphering the company’s short-term outlook. Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG)’s stock has taken it in the chin a couple times after reporting disappointing top- and bottom-line numbers for its second quarter. Super-discount stores generally don’t do as well if the economy is strong and consumers have more to spend. Of the around 750 top funds we track, 53 funds were long Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) at the end of June, unchanged from the previous quarter.

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Palo Alto Falls Due to Earnings

Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) has lost 8% today after the company reported in-line fiscal fourth quarter earnings of $0.50 per share. The tech company also reported revenue of $400.8 million, up by 41.2% year-over-year, and $11.1 million better than the consensus estimate. Billings increased by 45% year-over-year and the company’s board authorized a $500 million buyback program. Fiscal 2017 EPS is expected  between $2.75 and $2.80. Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) shares are likely down today because market expectations were higher than analysts’ estimates. Karthik Sarma‘s SRS Investment Management established a new position of around 1.0 million shares in the tech company in the second quarter.

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On the next page, we find out why Express Scripts Holding Company, H & R Block, and AstraZeneca are trending.

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