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Why Eaton Vance Corp Sank This Morning

By Brian D. Pacampara, CFA – Feb 3, 2014 at 3:23PM

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Does this analyst make a good case? Or is it just more noise from Wall Street?

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of Eaton Vance Corp (EV) fell 4% this morning after Goldman Sachs downgraded the asset management company from neutral to sell.

So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Marc Irizarry lowered his price target to $33 (from $45), representing about 13% worth of downside to Friday's close. While contrarians might be attracted to Eaton's sharp pullback over the past month, Irizarry thinks there's more room to fall given the strong industry headwinds continuing to work against it.

Now what: Goldman lowered its 2014, 2015, and 2016 EPS estimates for Eaton Vance on a forecast of weaker flows.

"We expect shares of EV to underperform given: (1) Decelerating flow trends and growing capacity concerns in floating rate funds (15% of AuM, 60% of flows in 2013); (2) EM exposure could drive flow/performance choppiness for Parametric and Global Macro Absolute (GMAR), together 10% of AuM; and (3) lackluster performance in the core equity business limits EV's participation in better industry flows," noted Irizarry.

When you couple the risks surrounding Eaton with its seemingly steep P/E of 24 -- a clear premium to the industry -- it's tough to disagree with Goldman's bearish stance. 

Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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