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Fly News Breaks for March 20, 2017
Mar 20, 2017 | 10:27 EDT
Catch up on today's top five analyst downgrades with this list compiled by The Fly: 1. Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser downgraded Alphabet (GOOGL) to Hold from Buy citing brand safety concerns and valuation following the recent rally in the shares. News last week that Havas, the sixth largest global media network, is pulling its spending from Google's YouTube and Google Display Network in the U.K. because Google was "unable to provide specific reassurances, policy and guarantees that their video or display content is classified either quickly enough or with the correct filters" is a big deal, Wieser tells investors. 2. Canaccord analyst Lynne Collier downgraded Sonic (SONC) to Hold from Buy, citing challenging industry sales, the potential for Street estimates to be too high in the midst of soft sales, a lack of upcoming catalysts, and increasing competition from non-traditional venues such as convenience stores. 3. Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter downgraded Mobileye (MBLY) to Neutral saying that while demanding a higher buyout price may be justified, he "begrudgingly" concluded that the price Intel (INTC) is paying for the company is fair. The analyst raised his price target for Mobileye shares to $63.54 from $60 to reflect Intel's offer. 4. Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser downgraded Caleres (CAL) citing the company's "disappointing" results and his belief that the company will not be able to overcome industry headwinds. 5. Goldman Sachs analyst Conor Fitzgerald downgraded Stifel Financial (SF) to Neutral from Buy while raising his price target for the shares to $59 from $58. The analyst believes LPL Financial (LPLA), a stock he upgraded this morning to Conviction Buy, offers more upside at current valuations. This list is just a portion of The Fly's full analyst coverage. To see The Fly's full Street Research coverage, click here.
Mar 27, 2017 | 15:40 EDT
Nomura joined several other Wall Street research firms Monday in commenting on Alphabet's (GOOGL) ad placement controversy, appearing to take a more bearish view on the issue and warning of a possible $750M hit to sales. NOMURA SAYS AD CONTROVERSY COULD CUT $750M FROM SALES: Nomura's Anthony DiClemente said Monday that, while he believes YouTube is capable of eventually launching safety fixes, he expects the "direct cumulative negative impact to revenue" could ultimately be $750M, with this year's Q2 and Q3 shouldering the majority of the impact. DiClemente added that the cost of developing solutions "may weigh on margins," and he also noted that investor confidence in YouTube's opportunity to steal share from TV advertising "has been reduced to some degree." The analyst cut his target price to $925 from $950 while maintaining a Buy rating on Alphabet. OTHER ANALYSTS URGE CALM: Nomura's investor note Monday came alongside several other fresh takes on the controversy. After speaking with contacts in the ad industry, UBS argued that marketer concerns seem to have elements of "opportunism," adding that the firm hasn't yet heard anything that would necessitate changes to long-term Alphabet estimates. Meanwhile, research firm Baird urged investors to remain calm and highlighted the limited bottom-line impact to Alphabet, while JPMorgan forecast just a "modest" financial hit to the company. PRICE ACTION: Class A shares of Alphabet are up 0.7% to $840.88 in afternoon trading. Last week, the Class A shares of Google's parent declined a bit over 4%.
Mar 27, 2017 | 11:02 EDT
Progressive (PGR) is now offering money-saving auto and home tips to Google Home customers, becoming the first insurer on Google's (GOOG) voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Customers of Google Home assistant simply say: 'Google, let me talk to Progressive' and they can get great answers to a wide range of questions on topics from car buying and insurance, to home buying, moving, curb appeal, and smart home technologies.
Mar 27, 2017 | 07:28 EDT
Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said it is reasonable to assume at least a modest short-term hit to YouTube revenues after a number of brands and agencies suspended advertising on the platform over questions about the placement of ads next to offensive content. However, he tells investors not to "panic" yet, as Search checks are largely positive and he foresees limited bottom-line impact to Alphabet overall. Additionally, the company is taking prudent steps to improve safeguards, which should protect YouTube's medium- and long-term growth, Sebastian tells investors. Over the short-term, though, he sees YouTube's issues potentially benefiting other online video platforms, including Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Amazon's (AMZN) Twitch, he added. Sebastian keeps an Outperform rating and $960 price target on Alphabet shares.
Mar 27, 2017 | 07:11 EDT
UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, after speaking with his digital ad industry contacts, noted that while many advertiser actions regarding YouTube and/or Google's Display Network in reaction to the company's ad placement controversy are focused on legitimate concerns, they also seem to have elements of "opportunism" during a time when advertisers and agencies are looking for negotiating leverage against the duopoly of Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB). Sheridan said he will "remain vigilant" but has yet to hear anything that would cause him to change his long-term estimates and he keeps a Buy rating and $980 price target on Alphabet shares.
Mar 26, 2017 | 19:57 EDT
Some advertisers are pressuring Alphabet to offer reduced rates in the wake of its recent ad placement controversy, reports the Financial Times. Group M chief digital officer Rob Norman said he has been in "constant dialogue" with Google over a "range of actions" they could take to assure clients, including potentially reduced rates for premium advertising inventory. The report explains that Google charges extra if clients want advertisements targeted at specific groups or shown alongside specific content, and Norman said "many clients" are now demanding that as a safety measure. Reference Link
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