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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Tyson Foods (TSN) were sliding 10.97% to $66.22 on heavy trading volume early Friday afternoon after the food provider disputed allegations that it conspired with other major U.S. poultry producers to fix chicken prices since 2008.

In September, food distributor Maplevale Farms filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois in Chicago against the company and other chicken producers including Koch Foods and Perdue Farms claiming that they limited supply to drive chicken prices higher.

Pivotal Research downgraded the stock to "sell" from "hold" earlier today as a result of the lawsuit, slashing its price target to $40 from $100, the Fly reports.

The firm said that the allegations are legitimate and will lead to increased scrutiny in the poultry market.

Tyson dismissed Pivotal's claims, noting that "contrary to what the analyst assumed, we have not made any changes to our business practices in response to the complaints."

The company added that it will defend itself in court against the complaint.

More than 7.38 million shares of the Springdale, AZ-based company have traded hands so far today vs. the 30-day average volume of 2.53 million shares.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

TheStreet Ratings rated this stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of A+.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: TSN

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