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SeaWorld Extends Losses As Analysts Slash Ratings, Targets

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SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) extended its earlier losses Thursday, shedding an additional five percent as at least three analysts slashed ratings on the theme park operator.

SeaWorld crashed more than 30 percent Wednesday, after posting shrinking revenue and a lower outlook. The company blamed competing expansion projects in Orlando by Comcast's Universal Parks and Resorts, as well as Walt Disney.

It also said "negative media attention" around a California bill that would phase out killer whale performances hurt attendance in San Diego.

The company is cutting costs, beefing up its marketing and launching a $250 million buy back program. "These are the right things to do," Macquarie's Tim Nolan said in a note.

But Nolan cut his rating on SeaWorld to Neutral from Outperform, and slashed his target to $21, from $43, saying the shares will "lack direction" until operating results improve.

Likewise, Bank of America's Bryan Goldberg said competition and "brand perception issues" means "normalization of business trends" is farther off than expected.

Goldberg cut his rating to Neutral and chopped his target to $20, from $43.

Also Thursday, Wells Fargo cut its SeaWorld rating to Market Perform from Outperform and FBR cut its target to $21, from $37.

The California bill to phase out orca performances was tabled for further study in May by the state legislature. Lawmakers vow to revisit the proposal next year.

Travelers arriving at the San Diego airport this summer are exposed to an advertising campaign by animal rights activists asking for a boycott of SeaWorld, according to The Wall Street Journal.

SeaWorld traded recently at $17.93, down 5.1 percent.

Latest Ratings for SEAS

Mar 2017CitigroupDowngradesNeutralSell
Dec 2016Janney CapitalUpgradesNeutralBuy
Nov 2016CitigroupDowngradesBuyNeutral

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