Research Analysts’ Downgrades for February, 15th (AMTD, AVIR, AZN, DDD, ENSG, FL, HST, JBL, LOW, SU)

Research Analysts’ downgrades for Wednesday, February 15th:

TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:AMTD) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TD Ameritrade’s have outperformed the Zacks categorized Investment Brokers industry in 2016. The company’s first-quarter fiscal 2017 (ending Dec 31) earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Higher revenues were offset by elevated expenses. Notably, the company recorded a rise in average client trades per day, indicating trading activity improvement. Its deal to acquire Scottrade is likely to be accretive to EPS in double-digits. Though we remain cautious regarding elevated costs and stringent regulations, which are likely to weigh on the company’s financials in the near term, management projects annual expense savings of $450 million, with additional $300 million of savings in the long run, attributable to the deal.”

Aviragen Therapeutics (NDAQ:AVIR) was downgraded by analysts at HC Wainwright from a buy rating to a neutral rating.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca’s Q4 results were mixed with earnings beating estimates but sales missing the same. The company has been very active on the acquisition and partnering front and expects to continue pursuing accretive deals. Newly launched drugs should keep contributing to the top line and ease the impact of genericization. Meanwhile, cost-cutting initiatives should drive the bottom line. Streamlining operations, along with its focus on R&D, will benefit the company in the long run. AstraZeneca has a promising late-stage pipeline that includes immuno-oncology candidates. The company expects a lot of activity on the regulatory and pipeline front in 2017.  Although the stock’s decline was sharper than the large cap pharma industry in 2016, it has done well in 2017. However, core products like Nexium and Crestor are facing generic competition which can hurt near-term earnings growth. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition.”

3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Over the past one year, 3D Systems’ shares recorded an average return of 103.3%, miles ahead of the Zacks categorized Computer Mini-Market industry average of 41.5%. The company’s diverse technology portfolio enables it to offset weaknesses associated with a single product line. Going forward, strong demand for production printers, materials and software, as well as healthcare solutions are likely to act as major catalysts, driving growth. Also, rising demand of this novel technology across several industries adds to the company's strength. However, unfavorable macroeconomic factors, such as slowdown, inflation, currency fluctuations, commodity prices and credit availability, have affected the company’s performance. Moreover, 3D System operates in a highly dynamic and competitive market which adds to its risks. This apart, escalating R&D expenses and precipitous revenue decline pose as significant headwinds.”

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “The Ensign Group’s earnings of $0.30 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 11.8%., and declined 14.3% year over year. The company continuously suffers from rising expenses, heavy debt burden and severe exposure to political uncertainty created by the surprise victory of Donald Trump that has jeopardized the future of ACA. Stringent regulations in non-U.S operations of the company are other headwinds. However, shareholders have always favored the stock. In the three month period through Dec 31, 2016, the stock has gained 10.33% while the Zacks categorized Nursing Homes industry has lost 11.64%. The company has been witnessing rapid growth in revenues for long. Its efficient capital management has also created shareholders’ wealth. The company operates in the booming industry of post acute care that holds untapped opportunities.”

Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Fashion obsolescence, foreign currency headwinds, a competitive retail landscape, and cautious consumer spending continue to pose concern for Foot Locker. Moreover, we noticed that the Zacks Consensus Estimate has witnessed a downtrend ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings release in the past 30 days. Although the stock has outpaced the industry in the past three months, it is likely to reverse the trend. Nevertheless, we believe continuous exploitation of opportunities such as children’s business, shop-in-shop expansion, store banner.com business, store refurbishment and enhancement of assortments, will benefit the company in the long run. Management had earlier reaffirmed its projection of a mid-single-digit increase in comparable sales in fiscal 2016. Further, it continues to expect double-digit growth in earnings per share for the fiscal year.”

Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HST) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Host Hotels is slated to release its fourth-quarter 2016 earnings results before the market open on Feb 22. Its estimates for the fourth quarter 2016 have moved north, of late. Although shares have Host hotels have outperformed the Zacks categorized REIT and Equity Trust – Other industry over the past three months, of late its estimates for fourth quarter 2016 have remained unchanged. The company has a robust portfolio of upscale hotels across lucrative markets. Moreover, its strategic capital-recycling program and a healthy balance sheet bode well for long term growth. However, rising supply in certain markets, currency fluctuations and earnings dilutive impact from asset disposition remain concerns.”

Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Jabil's results continues to suffer from weakness in mobility business, customer concentration, intensifying competition and increasing investments. If we look at the past one year performance, Jabil shares have vastly underperformed the Zacks categorised Electronic Manufacturing Service.Moreover, estiamtes have been revised downward ahead of the company's second quarter fiscal 2017 earnings release.However, the company is witnessing robust growth and better product placements, which is further expected to improve post the acquisition of Kuatro technologies. Moreover, improvment in demand for Apple's iPhone 7 and 7s is also positive for the company's financials. The realignment program is also aiding the company to significantly cutback its expenses while maintaining its production capacities. Despite a financial impact of $195 million over the next two years, this initiative should place the company well on the growth trajectory.”

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Lowe’s has underperformed the industry in the past six months, primarily due to weaker-than-expected top and bottom lines in the trailing two quarters. Management envisions fiscal 2016 earnings to be $3.52 per share, down from the earlier projection of $4.06. Nevertheless, an improving job picture, gradual recovery in the housing market and merchandising initiatives along with efforts to provide better omni-channel customer experience bode well for the company. It also remains well positioned to reap the benefits of strategic acquisitions, including the recent buyout of RONA. For fiscal 2016, Lowe’s anticipates total sales growth of 9% to 10%. However, analysts pointed that the company’s expansion into regions where it already operates could cannibalize its sales performance and lower traffic count at existing stores. We noted estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s fourth quarter earnings release.”

Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) (TSE:SU) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Higher commodity prices, record production and aggressive cost reduction helped Canada’s biggest energy company come out with better-than-expected profit. Suncor's production rose to a record during the quarter, helped largely by its recent transactions to gain a majority stake in the massive Syncrude oil sands project. Importantly, SU's success in reducing cash costs have magnified the effects of rebound in oil prices. A 10% dividend boost and plans for share buyback are other positives in the Suncor story. However, extracting crude from the oil sands is a costly affair and as such, hampers profit margins. Adding to the woes is the still weak commodity pricing environment that has been affecting Suncor's upstream operations. Therefore, we see limited upside from current levels for Suncor shares.”

TiVo Corporation (NASDAQ:TIVO) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TiVo Corporation was formerly known as Rovi Corporation. The recent merger of Rovi and TiVo has brought together two leading players in the media entertainment industry, which have complementary products and services and a number of patented technologies. The new TiVo is now the global leader in entertainment technology and audience insights. We believe that TiVo has significant growth opportunities in Western Europe and Latin America, given its partnerships with local providers. TiVo’s strong balance sheet will also enable the company to pursue strategic acquisitions. Its aggressive share buyback program will boost growth in the near term. However, intense competition particularly from companies like Dish Network and Cablevision Systems Corp. is eroding TiVo’s subscriber base, which seems to be the primary headwind in the near term. Notably, shares of TiVo have underperformed the broader market over the past one year.”

Wright Medical Group (NDAQ:WMGI) was downgraded by analysts at Needham & Company LLC from a buy rating to a hold rating.

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