Morgan Stanley Cuts Avon Recommendation

Analyst Bill Pecoriello cites increased uncertainty over the company's fundamentals

Morgan Stanley cut its investment recommendation on Avon Products (AVP ) to equalweight from overweight.

Analyst Bill Pecoriello cited increased uncertainty over the company's fundamentals. He said he's no longer sure that shares will not turn out to be a value trap. The company expects flat to down operating profit and a low-to-mid single digit rise in 2005 earnings per share on a mid-single digit rise in revenue. The analyst cut his price target to $31 from $45. He changed his earnings per share estimates as follows: for 2005 to $1.82 from $2.05, for 2006 to $1.62 from $1.99, and for 2007 to $1.78 from $2.19. The analyst cited a third quarter shortfall, as well as spending risk to regain traction in the U.S., Russia, Latin America, as well as continued China disruption.

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