Stock Analysts’ downgrades for Friday, August 25th:

Agenus (NASDAQ:AGEN) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Agenus posted narrower-than-expected loss in the second quarter of 2017 but missed revenue estimates. The company’s collaboration agreements with players like Incyte and Merck not only validate its technology platforms but also provide it with funds. In fact, Agenus received a boost when Merck selected its lead antibody candidate and several backup antibodies for an undisclosed checkpoint target. We are encouraged by its efforts in developing Prophage vaccine for glioblastoma multiforme.Further, the company announced its strategic decision to spin off its cell therapy businesses as a separate unit. The company has made this decision so that it can make smaller teams that can entirely focus on getting the products approved. However, with no approved product in its portfolio, Agenus is heavily dependent on collaborators for topline growth. Shares of the company have also underperformed the Medical-Biomedical/Genetics industry year to date.”

Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Commerce Bancshares’ shares have outperformed the industry in the last six months. The company's efforts to expand its footprint in newer markets, an improving rate scenario and expectation of lesser regulations are expected to boost revenues further. Also, strong loan and deposit balance should support its profitability. Given a solid liquidity position, the company should be able to continue enhancing shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities. However, rising expenses mainly due to increase in personnel costs and investments in franchise remain a major headwind. Further, a significant exposure to real estate loans remains a near-term concern for the company.”

Coty (NYSE:COTY) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a hold rating to a sell rating. According to Zacks, “Coty posted mixed fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results, wherein earnings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues beat the same. While the acquisitions of ghd and Younique boosted the company’s revenues, operating income declined due to higher marketing spending and interest expense. The quarter also witnessed higher investments to support acquisition related momentum. Moreover, its Consumer Beauty segment has continued to remain sluggish. Increasing competitive pressures and changing consumer preferences have been hurting the company’s growth. It also remains exposed to unfavorable currency impacts. Owing to such factors, shares of the company have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Nevertheless, the company continuously evaluates strategic acquisitions and new brand licenses to enhance its portfolio and improve its performance.”

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Salesforce reported strong Q2 results. The company also provided a strong outlook. We are also encouraged by the company’s announcement of achieving $10 billion in sales in FY18. The company’s diverse cloud offerings and strong spending on digital marketing remain the catalysts. Additionally, strategic acquisitions and the resultant synergies are anticipated to prove conducive to growth over the long run. Furthermore, the company’s last year move of utilizing Amazon data center’s geographical reach to expand its international business is commendable and will help it in achieving its targeted $20 billion sales mark in next few years as well. The company won several deals in Q2 due to its international expansion initiatives. The stock has outperformed the industry in the YTD period. Nonetheless, currency fluctuations and stepped-up investments could impact near-term results.”

Fortive Corporation (NYSE:FTV) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Fortive Corporation Fortive Corporation is a leading supplier and manufacturer of industrial products. Its second quarter 2017 earnings were above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The high-single digit core growth in the company’s Transportation Technologies platform, ongoing margin expansion owing to the Fortive Business System, acquisitions and strong free cash flow generation remain the positives. However, end market cyclicality, integration issues and uncertainties in the international markets pose concerns. Year to date, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Itron expects revenues to be between $2.03 million and $2.06 billion, and adjusted earnings per share between $2.95 and $3.15 for the full year. Itron continues to focus on expanding its portfolio of outcome-based solutions, aimed at higher growth opportunities utilizing the power of the OpenWay Riva platform. The company’s restructuring projects will help in reducing costs and increase manufacturing flexibility. Moreover, the Comverge acquisition, strong bookings and backlog, and new projects are anticipated to fuel growth. The company outperformed the industry over the past year. However, Itron‘s liquidity could be affected by the stability of  electricity, gas, and water industries and competitive pressures. Elevated expenses and fluctuation in currency rates may mar income in the near term.”

lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Lululemon’s shares have outperformed the industry in the last three months, mainly owing to solid first-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Further, the company is all set to utilize its capabilities built in fiscal 2015 over the next five years. In fact, by 2020, it aims to double its revenues to about $4 billion and more than double its earnings. Moreover, Lululemon’s eCommerce growth initiatives and ivivva remodeling bode well. We note that the company’s eCommerce comps improved in the low-double digits range at the start of the fiscal second-quarter, which led to solid comps guidance for the quarter. While its efforts to build upon eCommerce sales are paying off, in-store comps continue to be weak due to the soft traffic trends in the retail sector. Also, management tweaked revenue forecast for fiscal 2017, which indicates further trouble down the road. Estimates have been stable ahead of the second quarter earnings release.”

Paycom Software (NYSE:PAYC) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Provider of cloud-based HCM software as a service solution, Paycom has outperformed the industry over the last one year. Revenue growth seems to be steady and was positively impacted by higher recurring revenues and higher traction in cloud-based offerings. Better-than-expected demand for advanced human capital management and payroll software solutions during the reported quarter were the other positives. We believe that the higher adoption of Paycom Software’s Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) dashboard application that tracks employee count, employee status and health care plan affordability will act as a tailwind in the long run. Going ahead, Paycom might witness long-term growth by successfully cross-selling newer products to the existing client base, which will boost revenues. Nevertheless, competition from peers remains a headwind.”

Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Skyworks reported strong third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis. Strong demand for Wi-Fi, Zigbee and LTE solutions have helped the company to gain traction. Management provided optimistic guidance for the fourth-quarter. We note that Skyworks has outperformed the broader market on a year-to-date basis. Further, strategic design wins in IoT, automotive and 5G markets to remain significant positives for the company in the long haul. However, heavy investments in R&D are escalating operating expenses, which is affecting margins. Significant pricing pressure, technological obsolescence and high concentration risks remain additional headwinds. Additionally the delay in launch of iPhone 8 seems to be a negative for the company.”

TE Connectivity (NYSE:TEL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TE Connectivity’s third-quarter fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6% and also went up 14.8% year over year. The impressive earnings were driven by continued progress on strategic priorities, solid execution and impressive rise in the top line. TE Connectivity expects transportation business to experience high-single-digit organic increase, fuelled by rise in global auto production and impressive heavy truck business in key end markets. However, on the flip side, TE Connectivity expects seasonal declines in the upcoming quarters. Also supply chain inefficiencies are likely to have a negative impact on growth. Sluggish industrial markets and derivative impact of lower oil prices are posing as major headwinds, thwarting growth.Also, adverse currency fluctuations and high restructuring expenses might hurt the company. The stock has also underperformed the industry average over the past year.”

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Williams-Sonoma’s earnings beat streak continued for the fourth time in second-quarter fiscal 2017. The company reported earnings of 61 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 59 cents by 3.4%. The company’s quarterly earnings per share also increased 5.2% from the year-ago level. Net revenue of $1.202 billion came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but improved 3.7% year over year. The upside primarily reflects operational excellence and successful innovations. Williams-Sonoma enjoys a competitive advantage owing to its multi-brand/multi-channel business model. The company is focused on enhancing customer experience through improved and innovative marketing techniques. Although shares of Williams-Sonoma have underperformed its industry so far this year, earnings estimates for the current year have moved north over the last 90 days.”

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