Starbucks downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs analyst Karen Holthouse downgraded Starbucks to Neutral and lowered her price target for the shares to $68 from $75. The coffee giant closed yesterday up 31c to $64.19. The analyst remains "reasonably confident" that Starbucks' initiatives to drive digital engagement can lead to a "more stable" 3%-4% comp trajectory in the U.S. over the next few years. However, its valuation has "rapidly re-rated" to reflect this, and gift cards and digital trends could be points of caution in fiscal Q1, Holthouse tells investors in a research note. Further, she has "incremental concerns" regarding the China macro environment and the company's comp trajectory in that region. Other consumer companies, like Apple (AAPL) and McDonald's (MCD), have noted weakness in China, the analyst points out. Holthouse this morning also upgraded Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) to Buy from Neutral and downgraded Yum! Brands (YUM) to Sell from Neutral.