JP Morgan downgrades HP Inc due to chip shortages, trade tariff risk

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HP Inc. will face a more difficult industry environment for its computer business in the next year, according to J.P. Morgan.

The firm lowered its rating to neutral from overweight for HP Inc. shares, predicting chip shortages and trade tariffs will hurt its sales growth.

On Wednesday, the company gave earnings guidance for its fiscal 2019 at its analyst meeting slightly above J.P. Morgan’s forecast.

“We attended HP’s securities analyst day in New York. … Despite excellent execution, we see limited catalysts ahead,” analyst Paul Coster said in a note to clients Friday. “That said, component shortages, FX, shift to contractual, and tariff uncertainty will weigh on overall top-line in FY19 and we see limited catalysts after several consecutive quarters of solid growth.”

HP Inc. shares closed down 4.1 percent Friday.

Coster raised his price target to $29 from $28, representing 10 percent upside to Thursday’s close.

The analyst said the company had double-digit PC growth over the last two years, which will be a difficult performance to match.

In addition, the company’s shares have significantly outperformed the market this year. The stock rose 25.8 percent year to date through Thursday versus the S&P 500’s 8.5 percent return.

“The stock has re-rated over the past year, driven by solid management execution, strong FCF, and shareholder friendly actions,” he said. “With the stock up [YTD] … we would take profits here.”

HP Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

2018-10-05 12:02:00

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