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A clutch of Wall Street analysts downgrade Snap, sending its shares plunging

“Tired of watching Snapchat decline from the sidelines”, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield downgraded the messaging app to Sell from Neutral and set its price target at US$5
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Citi analyst Mark May is no longer betting on a near-term takeover due to Snap's operational challenges

Snap shares (NYSE:SNAP) are taking a battering after several Wall Street analysts moved to slash the stock’s price target in the wake of the departure of the struggling social media group’s chief strategy officer.

Criticizing the social media company for weak quarterly performances and a failure to find direction, BTIG Research, Citigroup and Jefferies have all downgraded their price target on the stock.  

And investors have responded by sending Snap shares plunging by 7.3% to US$9.18 in Wednesday’s afternoon trade.

Declaring he was “tired of watching Snapchat decline from the sidelines”  BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield downgraded Snap to Sell from Neutral and set its price target at US$5.

In a note first seen by TheFly.com, Greenfield stressed that Snap’s stock has shed over half its value since last October, but he doesn’t think the “the pain is over.”  He says he’s tired of listening to the company’s excuses for missing its numbers and remains disappointed by the company’s product line-up.

Read: Wedbush upgrades Snap to Outperform, raises price target on confidence in turnaround

A Sell rating is appropriate given the falling engagement on the part of Snap’s users and consensus expectations that are too high, according to Greenfield.

Sticking to a Sell rating on the stock too, Citi analyst Mark May, meanwhile, has pared back his price target for Snap to US$8 as he’s no longer betting on a near-term takeover due to Snap’s recent operational challenges, according to TheFly.com.

Brent Thill of Jefferies is taking a slightly more optimistic view and keeping a Hold rating on the shares while lowering his price target for Snap to US$11 from US$14. Snap’s daily active users and time spent are both trending down in the third quarter in the US, UK, Spain, France, Germany and Australia. While sentiment about the company from advertisers ranges from neutral to positive, Thill makes the case that Snap’s reach is capped due to declining users.

Read: Wall Street takes bets on Snapchat ahead of today's second-quarter earnings

Analyst Laura Martin of Needham is keeping her Underperform rating after Snap disclosed the abrupt departure of its “de facto chief revenue officer” Imran Khan. She argues that if the management turnover stems from the company’s missteps in its controversial efforts to redesign its platform, that’s a negative for the stock. The shake-up at the senior level is only a positive, according to Martin, if CEO Evan Spiegel is trying to surround himself with executives that bring experience at other institutions, according to TheFly.com.

Khan has played a key role in setting the direction of the company, having worked as Snap’s strategy guru since its public debut in March of 2017.

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