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August 21, 2014
11:54 EDTWWAV, HAINWhiteWave Foods retreats after analyst cuts rating
Shares of WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) are falling after research firm Longbow downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy, citing concerns about competition and valuation. WhiteWave Foods markets organic foods, including substitutes for traditional milk products. It also sells traditional dairy products. WHAT'S NEW: Wal-Mart (WMT) appears to have introduced private label almond milk products at nearly all the locations checked by Longbow over the last two months, the firmís analyst Philip Terpolilli wrote in a note to investors today. The giant retailer has devoted more space to these private label brands, which cost about 25% less than the almond milk marketed by WhiteWave, the analyst stated. Although the private label almond milk mainly replaced other private label dairy items on shelves, WhiteWave products did lose some shelf space, the analyst stated. However, the company's almond milk did not lose any shelf space, he noted. Meanwhile, demand for WahiteWave's Horizon brand of conventional dairy products at Whole Foods (WFM) was mixed, Terpolilli reported. On a positive note, overall demand for WhiteWave's products remains solid, said Terpolilli, with demand for specialty milk rising by low single digit percentage levels at Wal-Mart this month versus the same period in 2013 and organic milk demand rising by mid single digit levels. But the analyst noted that WhiteWave's stock had surpassed his previous $35 price target and, in the wake of the survey results, he is not convinced that the stock can rise significantly this year. However, Terpolilli continues to be upbeat on the stock's long-term outlook .WHAT'S NOTABLE: WhiteWave competitor Hain Celestial (HAIN) yesterday reported slightly better than expected Q4 results. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, WhiteWave fell 73c, or 2%, to $34.50.
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