CRA International's (CRAI) first quarter 2012 results were discouraging. Earnings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate significantly, owing to the drastically poor performance of its management consulting business. As a result, all key-line items experienced a downside.
The performance of management consulting suffered because of delays in several projects, particularly in Europe. Although management reaffirmed its outlook for 2012, based on first quarter results, we remain skeptical about its target.
Moreover, we are concerned about the ongoing economic uncertainty in Europe, cautious spending by clients, stiff competition and currency fluctuations. Hence, we downgrade the stock from Neutral to Underperform.
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