Baird Lowers Charles River Labs to 'Neutral'

Analyst Lawrence Neibor cites continued weakness in pharmaceutical and biotech spending

Baird downgraded Charles River Labs (CRL ) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Lawrence Neibor says the biotech firm cited continued weakness in pharmaceutical and biotech spending as primary causes of the change in its outlook. He cut the $1.70 2003 earnings per share estimate to $1.60, and trimmed the 2003 revenue estimate to $611.9 million. Also, he cut the $1.95 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.85, and trimmed the 2004 revenue estimate to $680.4 million.

Neibor downgraded as this development indicates general softness in an additional +50% of business as Charles River is still facing underperformance in its general toxicology service business (15% to 20% total sales), although management commented that this business is growing. He cut the target to $37 as uncertainty in majority of business units exists.

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