What happened

Guardant Health (GH -3.60%) did relatively well on the market Thursday. The cancer-diagnostics company's shares effectively traded sideways on a day when the S&P 500 index flopped by over 1%. Investors were cautiously optimistic about a new analyst take on the stock.

So what

Stephens' Mason Carrico initiated coverage of Guardant Health shares after market hours on Wednesday. Happily for the specialty healthcare company and its stockholders, Carrico is bullish on its prospects -- he's flagged it with an overweight (which means buy) recommendation at a price target of $99 per share. That level is almost 66% higher than the stock's current price.

Carrico considers Guardant to be a leader in the precision-oncology segment, thanks to its differentiated liquid-biopsy cancer-screening products. This should power double-digit growth for the company across the next few years, he believes.

In contrast to many healthcare and biotech stocks -- not to mention those in other industries -- Guardant has actually performed rather well of late. It's up by 26% over the past three months, in contrast to the 1% slump of the S&P 500 index.

Now what

What helps is that Guardant's good reputation was enhanced by a recent expansion of its cooperation with pharmaceutical giant Merck, which will use the GuardantINFORM diagnostics platform to help it develop oncology treatments.

Overall, analysts tend to be bullish on Guardant. Collectively, they're anticipating a healthy rise in revenue, both this year and next. While they believe the company's net loss will widen to $6.10 per share this year from 2021's $4, it should narrow to $5.14 in 2023.