U.S.-listed shares of Chinese streaming company iQiyi Inc. (IQ) are off more than 4% in premarket trading Thursday after Oppenheimer analyst Bo Pei downgraded the stock to perform from outperform. He worries that the company could see a "meaningful decline in subscribers" for the second quarter given indications of weak viewership trends. The company's content costs "are relatively inflexible regardless of subscriber count," Pei wrote. He said that the consensus forecast does model some degree of viewership declines since Chinese society has been reopening after the winter wave of COVID-19 cases but Pei argued that consensus numbers underestimate the depth of the declines. He expects more "highly-anticipated content" in the third quarter that could reignite subscriber momentum. IQiyi's U.S.-listed shares have rallied 48% over the past month while the S&P 500 has risen 3% and the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB) has gained 25%. The shares have seen recent momentum amid a report that Tencent Holdings Ltd. (0700.HK)was interested in becoming the largest shareholder of iQiyi ( ).
-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 25, 2020 08:53 ET (12:53 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.