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Hertz feels the hurt

Lawrence Lewitinn
Talking Numbers

This is the sort of news that, well, hurts investors: Car rental giant Hertz is saying it will have to restate its 2011 financial statements.

In a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hertz said:

"The Audit Committee has concluded that the financial statements for 2011 should no longer be relied upon, and Hertz must restate them.  Hertz also needs to correct the 2012 and 2013 financial statements to reflect these errors."

The restatements relate to how it accounted for depreciation, its business in Brazil and other items.

"It definitely is not a positive," said portfolio manager Chad Morganlander of Stifel's Washington Crossing Advisors. "We would avoid this stock at this point in time."

Shares have more than doubled in the past two years, notes Morganlander. "But, the valuation just doesn’t make sense to us," he said.

Also troubling Morganlander is the company's debt of more than $16 billion, about 3.8 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). "Any type of economic downturn, this company is somewhat sensitive to that," said Morganlander. "As a matter of fact, 'somewhat' is an understatement. So, I would pare back gains if you have it. And, if you're looking to deploy new money, I would stay away from this sector and I would stay away from the name."

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer & Co., also thinks investors should avoid Hertz.

"I have a really good indicator for this one," said Wald. "If a stock has 'under accounting review' in its news headline, you want to stay away from it. There are just too many [other] attractive charts right now in the market."

Wald sees support at the $27 level for Hertz but thinks the stock will eventually fill the gap caused by the drop on Friday. "If you get a bounce back up to about $29, I'd get out of it there," added Wald.

To see the full discussion on Hertz, with Morganlander on the fundamentals and Wald on the technicals, watch the above video.