Why This Analyst Downgraded NutriSystem Stock

Overall analyst attention was optimistic coming into today, however

Managing Editor
Oct 15, 2018 at 9:24 AM
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Shares of NutriSystem Inc. (NASDAQ:NTRI) are suffering in premarket trading, after the weight loss company was hit with a downgrade at D.A. Davidson to "underperform" from "neutral," and a price-target cut to $28 from $40. Worth noting, the drastic price-target cut is a nearly 25% discount to the stock's Friday close at $37.10. The brokerage firm cited concern over the company's ability to meet guidance as the reason for the bear note. At last check, NTRI is down 4.3% ahead of the bell.

NutriSystem stock has been trading mostly sideways on the charts following an early May bull gap. And while the security briefly closed a late-February, post-earnings bear gap in early August, it has since been trending lower. Plus, NTRI remains down 29% year-to-date.

Despite its technical underperformance, analyst sentiment is is mostly upbeat toward the nutrition concern, and as of last week's close, four of seven covering firms sported "strong buy" ratings. Plus, the stock's average 12-month price target of $46.50 comes in at a 25% premium to current levels.

Skepticism has been ramping up elsewhere, though. Short interest rose 14.7% during the past two reporting periods, and now represents 27% of the stock's total available float. At NTRI's average daily trading volume, it would take short sellers 13 days to cover their bearish bets.

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