Research Analysts’ Downgrades for February, 13th (BXS, CFR, CTRV, DVA, DXCM, FHN, HIW, PBCT, SNV, UBA)

Research Analysts’ downgrades for Tuesday, February 13th:

BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE:BXS) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of BancorpSouth underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company boasts an impressive earnings surprise history.  It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings were supported by improved net interest revenues and decreased expenses.Given a strong balance-sheet position, the company has been steadily enhancing shareholders’ value through strategic acquisitions, dividend hikes, share buybacks and excellent expense-management initiatives. Recently, the company completed the acquisitions of Ouachita Bancshares Corp. and Central Community Corporation. Yet, the company’s exposure to consumer mortgage and commercial real estate loans continues to be a near-term concern. Further, a stretched valuation indicates limited upside potential for the stock.”

Cullen/Frost Bankers (NYSE:CFR) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Cullen/Frost have outperformed the industry over the last six months. Also, the company boasts an impressive earnings surprise history. It has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three out of the trailing four quarters. Fourth-quarter 2017 results reflected top-line strength and lower provisions. With a rising interest-rate environment and improving non-interest bearing deposits, the company's net interest income and net interest margin are expected to grow. Also, the company’s steady capital-deployment activities reflect strong balance-sheet position. However, its risky loan portfolio and escalating costs stemming mainly from expanding franchise are likely to deter bottom-line growth to some extent.”

ContraVir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CTRV) was downgraded by analysts at Maxim Group from a buy rating to a hold rating.

Davita (NYSE:DVA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Year to date, Davita had a favorable run on the bourse, outperforming the broader industry. DaVita’s continuous improvement in Kidney care is commendable. The company’s efforts to control expenses hold promise. A compelling inorganic growth story supported by its strong financial position is another positive. The restructuring initiative for the DMG segment is likely to yield annualized savings of around $40 million every year, starting 2018. On the flipside, sluggishness in the dialysis and lab businesses is a major headwind for DaVita. The company is facing the adverse effects of the tumult in the U.S. medical space and rise in Medicare insurance costs, which might shorten the company’s customer base. However, strong growth in patient services is likely to boost the company’s growth trajectory.”

DexCom (NASDAQ:DXCM) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Over the past year, DexCom has underperformed the broader industry in terms of price. Cutthroat competition in the market for blood & glucose monitoring devices is a headwind. We believe the company’s margins will continue to be under pressure in the coming quarters, owing to high product development costs and rising expenditures on research & development. Lower expected margins on transmitter sales is also a cause of concern. However, the company is well positioned in the MedTech space, courtesy of solid contribution from Sensor revenues, Transmitter revenues and Receiver revenues in the last few quarters. The glucose monitoring market represents significant commercial opportunity for DexCom. The company’s solid foothold in the international markets, especially Germany, broad spectrum of products and strategic collaborations, are promising.”

First Horizon National (NYSE:FHN) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of First Horizon have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Fourth-quarter 2017 results benefitted from higher revenues, partially offset by elevated expenses and provisions. First Horizon's efforts to strengthen its core Tennessee banking franchise bode well for the long term. Moreover, its inorganic growth strategies are likely to support the top line. Though consistently rising expenses are likely to weigh on the profitability, the company’s focus to enhance shareholders’ value through capital deployment activities encourages us.”

Highwoods Properties (NYSE:HIW) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Highwoods have underperformed its industry in the past three months. Further, the stock witnessed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 funds from operations (FFO) per share being revised downward in a week’s time. Notably, significant exposure to office assets amid rising supply as well as persistent space efficiency trends and stiff competition are concerns. Moreover, the company’s assets are concentrated in a few markets that make it vulnerable to the economic and political doldrums in these areas. Rate hikes add to its woes. Nevertheless, the company’s better-than-expected FFO per share for fourth-quarter 2017 indicate growth in same-property net operating income (NOI) and strong leasing metrics. Also, the company’s efforts to fortify its high-quality office asset portfolio in best business districts (BBDs) have the capablity to drive long-term growth.”

People's United Financial (NASDAQ:PBCT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of People’s United have outperformed the industry in the past six months. Also, the company has a decent earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Fourth-quarter 2017 results reflect robust organic growth on the back of higher revenues and loan growth, partially offset by increased expenses. People’s United is steadily growing through acquisitions, which is likely to continue in the near future, given its strong balance sheet position. Also, the company remains committed to enhance its shareholders’ value through active involvement in capital deployment activities. However, escalating expenses despite undertaking initiatives to curb costs remain a concern.”

Synovus Financial (NYSE:SNV) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of Synovus have outperformed the industry over the past six months. This price performance is backed by the impressive earnings surprise history. The company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. Fourth-quarter 2017 results reflect robust organic growth, partially offset by higher expenses. Synovus’ organic and inorganic growth strategies position it well for the future. Further, its focus on balance-sheet growth keeps us encouraged. The company’s promising capital deployment activities reflect its strong capital position. However, escalating expenses is likely to keep bottom-line under pressure.”

Urstadt Biddle Properties (NYSE:UBA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Urstadt Biddle Properties is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust that provides investors with an investment vehicle for participating in ownership of income-producing properties. Their core properties consist principally of community shopping centers located in the northeast. “

Unique Fabricating (NYSEAMERICAN:UFAB) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Unique Fabricating, Inc. is a supplier of components in the automotive and industrial appliance market. The Company’s solutions comprised of multi-material foam, rubber and plastic components for noise, vibration and harshness management, acoustical management, water and air sealing, decorative and other functional applications. Its processes include die cutting, thermoforming, compression molding, fusion molding and assembly. The company operates primarily in Auburn Hills, Michigan, LaFayette, Georgia and Monterrey, Mexico. Unique Fabricating, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. “

UFP Technologies (NASDAQ:UFPT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “UFP TECH., INC. designs and manufactures a range of high-performance cushion packaging and specialty foam and plastic prods. for the industrial and consumer markets. UFP also designs precision moulded fibre packaging prods. made from recycled paper. “

Domtar (NYSE:UFS) (TSE:UFS) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Despite higher revenues, Domtar missed on fourth-quarter 2017 earnings due to higher operating costs. Adverse foreign currency translation against pulp purchasing currencies is expected to hamper price realizations of Domtar's pulp products. The company faces tremendous competitive pressure from local as well as some global producers, who often have relatively greater financial resources and lower production costs. The revamped market dynamics following Brexit are expected to affect firms like Domtar that has significant presence in the U.K. Brexit could further result in higher tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the U.K. and the European Union, lowering its productivity. Domtar has also underperformed the industry in the past three months. However, the company is streamlining the cost structure, improving revenue quality and maintaining a healthy cash flow to improve its future performance.”

USA Technologies (NASDAQ:USAT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services and energy management. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries. USA Technologies is an IBM Business Partner. The Company has marketing agreements with Cingular Wireless, Honeywell, MEI, Unilever and ZiLOG Corporation. “

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of U.S. Bancorp have underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company boasts an impressive earnings surprise history. It has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three out of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings were aided by easing margin pressure on rising rates. Elevated average loans and deposit balances reflected organic growth. U.S. Bancorp's prospects will likely get support from its solid business model, core franchise, lower tax rate and diverse revenue streams. Also, the company’s organic growth remains solid and is likely to benefit from the improving economic scenario. However, escalating expenses and litigations remain key concerns. Additionally, stretched valuation underlines limited upside potential.”

Veritex (NASDAQ:VBTX) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Veritex Holdings, Inc. is a bank holding company. The Bank, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Veritex Community Bank conducts its banking activities. Veritex Community Bank provides various commercial banking services to individual and corporate customers. The company offers a range of deposit accounts, loans and a range of online banking solutions. It offers debit cards, night depository services, direct deposits, cashier’s checks, and letters of credit; cash management deposit products, as well as treasury management services. Veritex Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. “

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