Baidu shares fall sharply on 2 downgrades

Baidu shares fall sharply on 2 downgrades after 4Q results

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Baidu Inc. fell sharply Tuesday after the Chinese Internet search company released fourth-quarter earnings that prompted at least two analysts to downgrade its shares.

THE SPARK: Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Baidu's stock rating to "Hold" from "Buy," while Raymond James downgraded the stock to "Market Perform" from "Outperform."

Baidu said late Monday that its net income rose 36 percent in the three months ending Dec. 31.

THE ANALYSIS: Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler said that even though the results were in line with expectations, the company's margins have fallen. Kessler added that Baidu still doesn't have a strong position in mobile search, and that it will several quarters away until the company makes "significant" money from it.

SHARE ACTION: Down $11.04, or 10.3 percent, to $96.15 in afternoon trading Tuesday. Shares are about 12 percent above their 52-week low of $85.96 in December.

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