Salomon Downgrades Parker Hannafin to 'Neutral'

A survey found troubling operating problems, and lower end-market demand for the maker of motion control products

Salomon Smith Barney downgraded Parker Hannifin (PH ) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst David Raso says Salomon's proprietary distributor survey for March uncovered troubling operating problems, and a modest step back in end-market demand. Raso says distributors said that delivery lead times from many operating groups have stretched from one to three weeks to up to six to eight weeks, but not due to robust demand. He also notes plant consolidations and headcount cuts are causing operatinonal problems; the most troubling was the lack of evidence of a resolution coming soon. Raso says while he can overlook commercial aerospace weakness, and even a delayed industrial recovery, Parker Hannafin's current valuation can't also support operational problems.

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