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Morgan Stanley downgrades pandemic darling Zoom Video as headwinds pile up

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Zoom Video, one of the most symbolic stocks of the pandemic, got downgraded by Morgan Stanley as the company struggles to keep up its Covid momentum. Analyst Meta Marshall on Tuesday downgraded the video communication platform to equal weight from overweight. She also slashed her price target on the stock to $90 from $130. “We are downgrading ZM to EW (from OW) because we believe incremental value realization in ZM will be difficult to achieve over the next 6 months as Online business normalization continues,” she said. “While we still see significant upside opportunity in the name longer term, we believe the near-to-medium term R/R is more balanced given broader macro caution and rising interest rates.” Marshall pointed specifically to challenges the company is facing during the current inflationary period. She also said it will see overhang for the next six months as online business more broadly finds a happy medium coming out of the pandemic boom. Meanwhile, company leaders have previously said its bottom line has been hurt by the surging U.S. dollar’s impact on its international market revenue. Zoom became a poster child of the pandemic as it surged in popularity – and valuation – with people moving their lives increasingly online. Shares were up more than 700% at their peak in October 2020 compared to the start of that year. But the stock has become less darling as the world economy slowly reopens and people return to offices. Zoom said its fiscal second-quarter revenue growth slowed to 8% from 12% a year ago in the year-earlier period. Year to date, the stock is down nearly 60%. Marshall said the headwinds from inflation and foreign exchange have likely hindered the company’s goal of having a stable influx of new subscribers into the new year. She also warned that this downgrade could be conservative and noted that the stock has long-term value potential. But there’s the possibility of the inverse, she said, as a stronger-than-expected hit from foreign exchange and inflation could make the stock less attractive than she originally pegged it to become in the short term. “We will look for an opportunity to again turn more positive on ZM with signs of stabilization in direct business coupled with continued Enterprise growth,” she said. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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