ViacomCBS, iHeartMedia, Discovery stocks fall after Bank of America downgrades

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Shares of ViacomCBS Inc. , Discovery Communications Inc. , and iHeartMedia Inc. are falling in Friday morning trading after Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich downgraded the stocks to underperform. She previously had neutral ratings on shares of Viacom and iHeartMedia, and she had a buy rating on Discovery’s stock. Viacom and Discovery are under pressure because they must “transition their business models to [direct to consumer], already a competitive field from both traditional media companies and also well capitalized FAANGs while their basic business is under duress,” Ehrlich wrote. She believes that iHeartRadio is well managed with a “strategic and visionary” team but worries that the company’s core business is being “severely hurt” by the pandemic as iHeartMedia relies on small- and medium-sized businesses. She lowered her Discovery price target to $25 from $32, cut her iHeartMedia price target to $10 from $12, and increased her ViacomCBS target to $32 from $30 in conjunction with the downgrades. Discovery shares have declined 13% over the past 12 months, as iHeart shares have lost 22%, Viacom shares have fallen 14%, and the S&P 500 has risen 15%.
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