Stock Analysts’ Downgrades for January, 4th (ADP, ADTN, CBI, COG, LFC, OZRK, PG, PH, PHI, PII)

Stock Analysts’ downgrades for Thursday, January 4th:

Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “ADP is a provider of human capital management solutions and integrated computing solutions to vehicle dealers. We note that the stock has outperformed the industry over the past one year. The company also raised fiscal 2018 guidance for revenues and earnings. We note that ADP holds a dominant position in the payroll processing and human capital management (HCM) market, primarily owing to its robust product portfolio. Moreover, activist investor Bill Ackman recently failed to get a position in the company's board. The overwhelming shareholder support for the existing board reflects strong confidence over management’s strategies, which is expected to drive share price in the near term. Nevertheless, we expect investments in new initiatives will continue to weigh on the company’s bottom-line results. Further, increasing competition is a major headwind.”

ADTRAN (NASDAQ:ADTN) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of ADTRAN underperformed the industry it belongs to in 2017 The stock lost 13.4% against the industry's aprreciation of 24.4%. Adding to its woes, the company recently issued a below-par guidance for the final quarter of  2017. High costs are likely to hurt the company's bottom line in the fourth quarter, as was the case in the third quarter of 2017. The negative sentiment surrounding the stock can be gauged from the fact that the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings has declined 11.7% over the last 90 days. Detailed results should be out later this month. We are, however, impressed by the company's efforts to reward shareholders.”

Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a strong sell rating. According to Zacks, “Chicago Bridge & Iron has had a dismal earnings surprise history, having missed estimates by a huge margin in each of the four trailing quarters. In the recently reported quarter, the company’s margins were deeply affected by a rise in cost on IPL and Calpine power projects as well as with execution of its other projects. Decline in both U.S. storage tank work and federal government spending, along with constant project deferrals are proving to be major headwinds. The company’s net contract capital position for continuing operations also declined steeply on a sequential quarter basis, which impacted cash flow adversely. In light of such adversity, the company’s shares have dismally underperformed the industry average in the past year. However, the company has taken a flurry of measures to address its chronically poor project execution, improve efficiency and strengthen its balance sheet.”

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Cabot have surged 29.1% in the last twelve months, handily outperforming the broader industry's decline of 14.1%. COG's recent divestiture of non-core Eagle Ford assets have transformed it into a pure-play Marcellus operator. Increased focus on the Marcellus shale will enable the company to deliver double-digit growth per debt-adjusted share from the region. We believe COG’s execution success, continued expense management and improving well economics will further enhance its outlook, driving the shareholder value by share buyback programs and dividend growth. However, being a natural gas-weighted company, Cabot continues to reel under the effects of the commodity's price struggles as reflected by its failure to beat estimates in 9 of the last 10 quarters. As it is, delays in the development of the Constitution pipeline keep us worried. Considering these factors, we see limited upside from current levels.”

China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) was downgraded by analysts at Deutsche Bank AG from a buy rating to a hold rating.

Bank Of The Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Bank of the Ozarks have underperformed the industry over the last six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. Consistent growth in loans and deposits, and easing margin pressure along with benefits from lower tax rates will aid the company’s profitability. Also, its efficient capital deployment activities represent a solid balance sheet position. However, persistently rising operating expenses due to the company’s expansion strategy through de novo branching are expected to curb bottom-line growth. Further, a stretched valuation indicates limited upside potential for the stock.”

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “P&G is known for its strong brand recognition, diversified portfolio, impressive product development capabilities and marketing prowess as well as strong cash flow productivity. The company is investing in its brands and products as well as redesigning the supply chain to improve productivity and organic growth. However, slowing market growth, weak volumes and organic sales have been hurting sales. P&G shares have also underperformed its industry in the last one year. Soft consumer-spending environment in developed markets and uncertainties in emerging countries also add to the worries. That said, P&G is speeding up innovations and investments to counter the softening industry growth. Its productivity improvements and cost-saving efforts are also consistently helping to boost profit level.”

Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Parker-Hannifin’s shares have outperformed the industry’s average, over the past one year. Parker-Hannifin has a robust earnings surprise history, with consecutive earnings beats in the four trailing quarters. Going forward, the company expects to gain traction from improving demand, incremental savings from its realignment actions and its revamped Win Strategy. The company anticipates that its revamped Win strategy will help deliver growth rate of 8% in earnings, over the next five years. However, prolonged sluggishness in the key natural resources markets is proving to be one of the major concerns for the company. Moreover, strengthening of the U.S. dollar and escalating restructuring charges are expected to hurt the company’s financials. This apart, changes in business relationships and purchase pattern of major customers, suppliers or distributors pose a significant challenge.”

PLDT (NYSE:PHI) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. Zacks Investment Research currently has $34.00 target price on the stock. According to Zacks, “PLDT Inc. offers telecommunications services. Its operating segment consists of Wireless, Fixed Line and Others. Wireless segment provides cellular, wireless broadband and other services, and digital platforms and mobile financial services. Fixed Line segment provides local exchange, international long distance, national long distance, data and other network and miscellaneous services. It offers postpaid and prepaid fixed line services. PLDT, Inc., formerly known as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, is based in Makati City, the Philippines. “

Polaris Industries (NYSE:PII) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Polaris Industries Inc. is a global power sports leader that has been fueling the passion of riders, workers and outdoor enthusiasts for years. With annual 2016 sales of $4.5 billion, Polaris’ innovative, high-quality product line-up includes the RANGER, RZR and Polaris GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; the Sportsman and Polaris ACE all-terrain off-road vehicles; Indian Motorcycle midsize and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; and Polaris RMK, INDY, Switchback and RUSH snowmobiles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories, along with a growing aftermarket portfolio, including Transamerican Auto Parts. Polaris’ presence in adjacent markets globally includes military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. “

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust is a real estate investment trust. The Company operates as a specialty finance company that will invest primarily in residential mortgage loans and mortgage-related assets. The company seeks to acquire primarily troubled home mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities from FDIC liquidations of failed banks, US Treasury Legacy Loans Program auctions, and direct acquisitions from mortgage and insurance companies and foreign banks. The Company’s objective is to provide risk-adjusted returns to its investors over the long-term, primarily through dividends and secondarily through capital appreciation. The Company focuses on investing in mortgage loans, a substantial portion of which may be distressed and acquired at discounts to their unpaid principal balances. PennyMac is managed by investment adviser PNMAC Capital Management and offers primary and special loan servicing through PennyMac Loan Services. “

CPI Card Group (NASDAQ:PMTS) (TSE:PNT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “CPI Card Group Inc. is engaged in financial card production and related services under the VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover payment brands. The company offers a single source for cards and other form factors, from financial and prepaid debit to EMV chip and mobile, instant issuance, personalization and fulfillment services. CPI Card Group Inc. is headquartered in Littleton, Colorado. “

PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE:PNC) was downgraded by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a conviction-buy rating to a buy rating.

Pacific Premier Bancorp (NASDAQ:PPBI) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “LIFE Financial Corporation is a savings and loan holding company for Life Bank. The company originates, purchases, sells, securitizes and services primarily non-conventional mortgage loans principally secured by first and second mortgages on one- to four-family residences. The Company makes Liberator Series loans, which are for the purchase of residential real property by borrowers who generally would not qualify for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans, and Portfolio Series loans, which is debt consolidation loans for borrowers whose credit history qualifies them. “

KERING (OTCMKTS:PPRUY) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Kering is involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of apparel and accessories. It operates through two segments: Luxury segment and Sport and Lifestyle segment. The company’s product include handbags, small leather goods, luggage, shoes, men and women’s ready-to-wear, silks, watches, fine jewellery, eyewear, lingerie, fragrances and cosmetics, furniture, kids wear, T-shirts, track jackets, bags, board shorts, polo shirts, denim, swim, outerwear, and sandals; footwear; sunglasses, snow goggles, backpacks, luggage, and accessories. Its brand name consists of Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric, Tretorn, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, Qeelin, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, and JeanRichard. Kering is headquartered in Paris, France. “

ProAssurance (NYSE:PRA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “ProAssurance’s core business has been witnessing substantial improvement over the past few quarters. The company has significantly achieved inorganic growth via successful acquisitions and integration of companies. Its top line has also remained strong consistently on the back of solid premium income. However, the shares have underperformed the industry in last three months. Volatility in premium retention in its physician business has impacted its margins adversely. Growing expenses also continue to weigh on the bottom line. Its declining investment income has been affecting the top line.”

Schneider National (NYSE:SNDR) was downgraded by analysts at Citigroup Inc from a buy rating to a neutral rating.

Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) was downgraded by analysts at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. from an outperform rating to a market perform rating. They currently have $29.00 target price on the stock.

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