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Why Starbucks' Shares Are Down Again Today

By John Rosevear - Mar 23, 2020 at 3:15PM

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Near-term sales aren't going to be good.

What happened

Shares of Starbucks (SBUX -0.55%) were down on Monday, as investors and analysts came to terms with the growing likelihood of extended retail shutdowns in North America and Europe. 

As of 2:45 p.m. EDT, Starbucks' shares were down about 4% from Friday's closing price.

So what

In a note on Monday morning, MKM Partners analyst Brett Levy downgraded Starbucks to neutral, from buy, cutting his price target to $52 from $92. Levy said the company's decision to move to a takeout-only business model in the U.S. won't be enough to sustain its results over the near term, and that it has no way to fully offset the likely lost revenue. 

3 cold drinks in cups with Starbucks logos.

Image source: Starbucks.

Separately, Starbucks said over the weekend that it is extending its "catastrophe pay" for employees: It will now pay all employees from March 21 through April 19, even if they choose to stay home -- including those who are healthy but worried about coming to work during a pandemic.

Employees who do come to work during that period will receive "service pay," an extra $3 per hour for shifts worked as scheduled, the company said.

Now what

The good news for Starbucks investors is that the company will be able to generate some revenue from its stores, even as most retail will be shut down for at least the next few weeks. Also good news: The company is doing right by its employees at a very difficult time.

But of course there's also not-so-good news. First, state-level stay-at-home orders may force Starbucks to discontinue all operations in some areas. And second, the social-distancing phase of the coronavirus pandemic may last for quite a while longer.

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