10 Stocks That Could Tank, According to Morgan Stanley
Stock analysts issue more flattery than flak. For each 10 positive ratings of companies in the S&P 500 index, there is only a single negative one, according to a Barron’s screen of FactSet data. So thumbs-down reports tend to stand out.
For example, Morgan Stanley on Thursday published a list of its favorite “secular growth stocks,” which the firm’s analysts reckon can “grow strongly independent of global economic conditions.”
There are some predictable names, like Amazon.com (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX), and some picks that are less universally adored, like the biotech firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Assurant (AIZ), which sells, among other things, extended warranties for smartphones. But a companion list of “secularly challenged stocks” was perhaps more eye-catching.
That list includes stocks rated Underweight by Morgan Stanley’s analysts, where the price target is near or below the recent share price. Risk and reward for each are skewed unfavorably, with potential downside in a bearish scenario exceeding potential upside in a bullish one. And for each, the analyst’s negative thesis rests on more than fleeting problems-things like rising competition or deteriorating end markets. Among 25 stocks on the list, the 10 listed below had bear cases that implied at least 60% downside from recent levels.
Two important caveats: First, bear cases aren’t what the firm sees as the likeliest outcome for each stock. Base cases are, and those point to the price targets listed below. Second, struggling companies can produce big gains on good news, as illustrated Thursday by one company on the list. Abercrombie & Fitch stock closed up 21% after its third-quarter report suggested a strong start to the holiday shopping season.
So consider the following a think-twice-before-buying list, in one firm’s view, and not a list of stocks to bet against. The price targets listed are Morgan Stanley’s base case, not the bear case.
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