In recent trading, shares of FreightCar America Inc ( RAIL) have crossed above the average analyst 12-month target price of $15.33, changing hands for $15.78/share. When a stock reaches the target an analyst has set, the analyst logically has two ways to react: downgrade on valuation, or, re-adjust their target price to a higher level. Analyst reaction may also depend on the fundamental business developments that may be responsible for driving the stock price higher — if things are looking up for the company, perhaps it is time for that target price to be raised.

START SLIDESHOW:
The Top 25 Broker Analyst Picks of the S&P 500 »

There are 3 different analyst targets contributing to that average for FreightCar America Inc, but the average is just that — a mathematical average. There are analysts with lower targets than the average, including one looking for a price of $13.00. And then on the other side of the spectrum one analyst has a target as high as $20.00. The standard deviation is $4.041.

But the whole reason to look at the average RAIL price target in the first place is to tap into a "wisdom of crowds" effort, putting together the contributions of all the individual minds who contributed to the ultimate number, as opposed to what just one particular expert believes. And so with RAIL crossing above that average target price of $15.33/share, investors in RAIL have been given a good signal to spend fresh time assessing the company and deciding for themselves: is $15.33 just one stop on the way to an even higher target, or has the valuation gotten stretched to the point where it is time to think about taking some chips off the table? Below is a table showing the current thinking of the analysts that cover FreightCar America Inc:

Recent RAIL Analyst Ratings Breakdown
Current 1 Month Ago 2 Month Ago 3 Month Ago
Strong buy ratings: 1 0 0 0
Buy ratings: 0 0 0 0
Hold ratings: 3 3 3 3
Sell ratings: 0 0 0 0
Strong sell ratings: 0 0 0 0
Average rating: 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0

The average rating presented in the last row of the above table above is from 1 to 5 where 1 is Strong Buy and 5 is Strong Sell. This article used data provided by Zacks Investment Research via Quandl.com. Get the latest Zacks research report on RAIL — FREE.

If you liked this article you might like

West Marine Gets Acquired; Don't Miss the Boat on These Other Double-Nets

How My Outperforming Value Portfolio Is Bucking the Trend

These 5 Amazing Stocks to Own for the Rest of 2017 Aren't for the Faint of Heart

My 5 Favorite Stocks for the Rest of 2017 Aren't for the Faint of Heart

What's Doing Best in New Portfolio? Take a Guess