Piper Jaffray downgrades Sina (SINA ) to market perform from outperform. The company posted 30 cents fourth-quarter GAAP earnings per share and sees $11 million to $13 million in first-quarter net income.
Analyst Safa Rashtchy says the company is experiencing growing pains of an industry that's facing rising competition amid high-growth prospect in China. While this is not the end of growth, he sees the start of a more modest growth path, with lower margins.
He notes, however, that things are becoming more complicated due to the surprise government decision to ban TV advertising of certain types of wireless services, nearly routine quarterly policy changes by CHL, ad others that restrict one type of a service or another.
Rashtchy cuts $1.36 2005 earnings per share estimate to 83 cents, citing first-quarter guidance.