When the going gets tough, the analysts get going.
Cuts and downgrades abounded this morning as several analysts delivered knee-jerk responses to
fourth-quarter earnings report, which warned of lower-than-expected 2001 revenue.
Investors lately sent the Internet media giant's shares down $4.50, or 14.8%, to $26. Its stock had fallen to about $24 in preopen
trading after closing at $30.50 on Wednesday. The stock has been as high as $205.63 in the last 52 weeks.
slashed its rating on Yahoo! to hold from strong buy, while
lowered the company to neutral from buy, based on its near-term revenue shortfall.
downgraded it to reduce from strong buy.
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
knocked Yahoo! down to market perform from buy, while
Salomon Smith Barney
sharply trimmed its 12-month price target to $45 from $160.
cut both its rating and earnings forecast for Yahoo!. The firm downgraded the stock to reduce from hold and lowered its 2001 earnings outlook to 38 cents a share from 57 cents a share.
reduced its 2001 estimates by a "staggering amount," cutting revenue to $1.18 billion from $1.44 billion, and earnings to 39 cents a share from 59 cents a share. The firm also lowered its 2002 revenue forecast to $1.51 billion from $1.73 billion, and EPS to 58 cents from 71 cents. Hambrecht analysts Derek Brown and Faye Elliott-Gurney said it was maintaining its neutral rating on Yahoo!'s shares but suggested investors remain on the sidelines until "the smoke clears."
Credit Suisse First Boston
cut its 2001 earnings estimate to 35 cents a share from 57 cents a share, and its 2001 revenue guidance to $1.16 billion from $1.4 billion. The firm also lowered its 12-month price target to $30 from $100.
Nevertheless, the firm kept a hold rating on the company, saying it believed "very little in Yahoo!'s basic economic model has changed," indicating that "when demand accelerates, the company should be able to return to its former level of profitability and cash generation."
Indeed, in what seemed like an optimistic vote for the future of Yahoo!,
J.P. Morgan H&Q
maintained its long-term buy rating, even as it said Yahoo!'s first half of 2001 "looks tough." J.P. Morgan said in its note, "We believe that guidance will have a negative near-term impact on Yahoo!'s stock price as well as exert downward pressure on the rest of the Internet media sector." However, the firm also said it believes Yahoo "remains poised for attractive long-term growth."
also gave the company a somewhat favorable outlook. While cutting its 2001 revenue estimates to $1.27 billion from $1.45 billion, and 2001 earnings to 47 cents from 59 cents a share, the firm also said it believes "the company's forecast is overly conservative...Despite the awful near-term financial outlook, the key value-drivers showed impressive growth," analyst Henry Blodget said in his note. Blodget also called Yahoo!'s valuation "attractive."
kept its buy rating and its $76 price target for Yahoo!, saying the company's cautious comments for the first half of 2001 was an "understatement" and that it believes Yahoo! "guided so low as to never have to guide lower again."