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CIBC Downgrades Univision to Sector Perform

CIBC World cut Spanish-language media company Univision Communications (UVN) 29.20) to sector perform from outperform.

Analyst Jason Helfstein says he is downgrading Univision from sector outperform on reduced confidence in management. Despite third-quarter earnings per share being a penny above estimates, fourth-quarter guidance was dramatically below his and the Street's estimates.

He says significant weakness in the core TV business can't be explained rationally in his view. While management claims the business should return to normal in the first-quarter of 2005, a shortfall represents a level of unpredictability he's not experienced since 1998.

Helfstein believes Univision will remain under pressure until investors regain confidence in management. He cuts his 74 cents 2004 earnings-per-share estimate to 71 cents and his 96 cents 2005 earnings-per-share estimate to 91 cents.

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