Los Angeles Business Journal

Dole Drops on Analyst Downgrade

By Joel Russell Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shares of Dole Food Co. fell 9 percent early Tuesday after an analyst downgraded the stock.

Jessica Schmidt at JPMorgan lowered her recommendation to “neutral” from “overweight” but retained her nine-month target price at $12 per share.

“Given that the stock is approaching our target price, we are moving to the sidelines,” Schmidt wrote in a note to investors. “We believe shares now fairly reflect the risk of Dole’s typically unpredictable earnings stream.”

The Westlake Village fruit grower March 16 reported stronger than expected results including earnings of $4 million (5 cents a share), compared to a loss of $36 million (-41cents) in the same quarter a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet on average expected a loss of 13 cents a share. The share price jumped 12 percent the day of the announcement.

By late morning Tuesday, shares of Dole had lost 94 cents or 9 percent to trade at $10.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.