Qihoo 360: Zacks’ Bear of the Day Play

Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHUAnalyst Report) offers Internet and mobile security products and is the number 2 search engine in China behind Baidu (BIDUAnalyst Report). Despite high hopes for the company to eat away at the leader’s market share in search, and the advertising revenues that go with it, Qihoo’s business has not stood up to the hype.

The stock first became a Zacks #4 Rank (Sell) in late November after the company’s 3rd-quarter results prompted analysts to lower earnings estimates. Back then it was trading over $70 and has slid progressively as the news doesn’t get any better.

In the last 60 days, EPS estimates for this year have fallen from $3.43 to $2.88. And next year’s growth outlook has seen EPS estimates drop from $5.70 to $4.37, a 23% plunge.

Shares have rallied from 20-month lows near $45 since their Q4 report on March 9 offered a 5.5% earnings beat. But analysts still took estimates lower, as you can see from the Detailed EPS tables below which show that the 2016 profit projection stood at $4.76 before that report.

Growth projections for Qihoo remain optimistic, but one has to wonder why the analysts keep having to rein in those views quarter after quarter. Until the estimates start getting revised back upwards, it might be best to stay on the sidelines with QIHU. The Zacks Rank will let you know when the coast is clear.

Kevin Cook is a Senior Stock Strategist for Zacks where he runs the Follow The Money Trader.

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