Ulta Beauty Downgraded On Sector Weakness In The U.S.

Ulta Beauty Inc. was downgraded to perform from outperform at Oppenheimer on concerns about a weakening beauty market in the U.S. The price target is $270. Unlike most retail concerns nowadays, this wasn't based on Amazon.com Inc. , according to the Oppenheimer note, but rather on the Friday earnings call from L'Oreal SA . "The U.S. market has turned out to be difficult since January 2017, while Western Europe and the New Markets have accelerated," said Christian Mulliez, L'Oreal's chief financial officer, according to a FactSet transcript of the call. This, paired with increased department store discounting could create headwinds in the U.S. market. "As a result, we now view the backdrop as more challenging for Ulta to deliver the same level of comp and earnings upside investors have grown accustomed to," wrote analysts led by Rupesh Parikh. Ulta shares are down 13.5% for the past month, and down 2.5% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index is up 10.4% for 2017 so far.

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