Stock Analysts’ downgrades for Wednesday, September 6th:

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. The company is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on strong operational performance, it raised core net operating earnings of $6.40–$6.90 per share in 2017. Estimates for 2017 and 2018 also moved north over the last 60 days.  However, American Financial’s exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. A still soft interest rate environment is expected to weigh on desired upside in investment results.”

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Bed Bath & Beyond  is focused on strategic initiatives like e-Commerce enhancement and improvement of customer services, as also evident from its recent store realigment plan. Also, comps from customer-facing digital networks grew over 20% in the last reported quarter. Additionally, Bed Bath & Beyond’s capital initiatives and constant shareholder-friendly moves should draw investors’ attention. However, the company has lagged the broader industry in the past year owing to its unimpressive past performances. Well, Bed Bath & Beyond has been reeling under sluggish mall traffic that has been intensifying with increasing shift toward online shopping. Also, margins have been pressurized for four quarters now, owing to increased expenses. Additionally, the company's global presence keeps it exposed to currency woes. Unfortunately, management's dismal view for fiscal 2017 raises concerns about these obstacles to linger.”

Chemed Corp. (NYSE:CHE) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Over the past six months, Chemed has been trading above the broader industry. Chemed’s last reported second-quarter 2017 performance was quite promising with the bottom line significantly improving on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, encouraging revenue growth and the raised guidance for 2017 are indicative of brighter prospects. In fact, the guidance raise was backed by the company expectations of significant gains from its Roto-Rooter business. Notably, the improvement in average net Medicare reimbursement rate and increase in average daily census are also impressive. However, headwinds like reimbursement related issues, seasonality in business, a competitive landscape and dependence on government mandate pose challenges for Chemed.  Also, a tweaked guidance for Medicare Cap billing limitations raises concern.”

Cooper Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:COO) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “The Cooper Companies outperformed the broader industry in terms of price performance over the past six months. The Cooper Companies have always had an impressive show from its CooperSurgical business segment. The CooperVision segment also delivered strong sales in the last quarter, buoyed by robust performance by Toric. However, the company generates a significant part of its revenues in foreign currencies. Thus, the ongoing unfavorable currency translation is expected to negatively impact the company’s top-line growth in 2017. Furthermore, intensifying competition in the contact lens will continue to increase pricing pressure for the company. Also, the stocks overvaluation reflects a relatively dull scenario that might be a cause for investors’ concern.The Cooper Companies ended third-quarter fiscal 2017 on a solid note, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimates on both lines.”

CSRA (NYSE:CSRA) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “CSRA is the largest pure play government IT service provider. The company’s deep domain knowledge and expertise in next-generation IT services is aiding it to win new contracts on a regular basis. This was evident from the recently announced first-quarter results. Additionally, partnerships with technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle is a key growth driver. Moreover, anticipated improvement in federal spending is a positive for the company. However, near-term uncertainty over the renewal of Greenway contract and delay in TSA contract are headwinds. The lower recompete win rate is a concern in our view.  Notably, the company has underperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis.”

Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Fitbit Inc. is a manufacturer of wearable fitness tracking devices. The company reported second-quarter 2017 adjusted loss of 18 cents per share, which was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Over the last year, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to. Fitbit’s growth has been slowing down with smartwatches outshining the fitness wearable category, influx of new wearables, lack of upgrades among existing users and lackluster growth in the Asia Pacific region. Management has taken some recovery initiatives that include executive shakeup and cost structuring.”

Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ:MXWL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Maxwell leads the growing ultracapacitor market and benefits from increasing demand for its utility infrastructure, renewable energy, public transportation and space programs. It is also making progress in the high-voltage capacitor market. Maxwell signed a joint development agreement with a leading global automotive OEM as well as a global tier one automotive supplier, to develop a specific electric vehicle platform. However, short-term changes in the Chinese government’s deployment strategy for wind turbines are affecting Maxwell’s wind market revenues. Moreover, Maxwell is witnessing significant competition and pricing pressure in the Chinese hybrid transit vehicle market. The company has underperformed the broder industry in last one year.”

Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) (TSE:QSR) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Restaurant Brands’ shares have widely outpaced its industry over the past year. Going forward, various sales-boosting initiatives like improving services, reimaging restaurants, menu innovation along with continued expansion should drive the top line. In fact, the company believes that there is opportunity to grow both the Tim Hortons and Burger King brands across the world. The acquisition of Popeye’s also bodes well as it adds a solid brand to its portfolio, which should further ramp up unit growth and aid in reducing costs. Moving ahead, the company aims to continue focusing on guest satisfaction and franchisee profitability, which it believes will drive long-term growth of brands. However, rising costs along with negative currency translation might dent the company’s profitability, while a soft consumer spending environment could keep comps under pressure.”

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Ross Stores outperformed the broader industry in the past month. It has a positive record of earnings surprises in 12 of the trailing 13 quarters. In second-quarter fiscal 2017, both the top and bottom lines topped estimates and improved year over year. Results gained from solid top-line growth that was driven by broad-based growth across all merchandise categories and regions. Further, better-than-expected sales and operating profits at dd's DISCOUNTS aided results. Concluding first-half fiscal 2017 on a strong note, the company provided guidance for the second half and accordingly raised earnings view for fiscal 2017. This led to an uptrend in estimates for fiscal 2017. Moreover, its solid financial status, ongoing merchandise initiatives and consistent focus on store expansion bode well. However, the company anticipates witnessing the most challenging year-ago comparisons in second-half fiscal 2017, alongside a volatile retail backdrop.”

SEI Investments (NASDAQ:SEIC) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “SEI Investments shares have outperformed the industry over the last six months. The performance was supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the trailing four quarters. The company is well positioned for organic growth, given its innovative and diverse global investment products and services. Further, robust asset growth and the acquisition of Archway Technology Partners are expected to support profitability. However, persistently increasing expenses due to additional investment spending on services will likely hurt bottom line growth. Also, increased exposure to fee-based revenue sources might hurt its financials.”

TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “TransUnion is poised for impressive growth in several of its end markets, especially the burgeoning Big Data and analytics market, with an attractive business model, significant operating leverage, low capital requirements and strong and stable cash flows. Increased risk of identity theft due to data breaches and higher consumer awareness about the usage of credit information are propelling the demand for its consumer solutions. The company has further increased its guidance on favorable growth dynamics. TransUnion has also outperformed the industry year to date. However, the company is vulnerable to the overall macroeconomic conditions, industry trends and adverse foreign currency translation effects, which limit its profitability to some extent. The high degree of competition also restricts its pricing power and puts a strain on the bottom line. In addition, TransUnion’s performance is affected by various seasonality issues.”

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