Piper Jaffray lowered its rating of Starbucks stock to neutral from overweight, citing a lack of confidence in the growth of its domestic same store sales.
"We believe the stock is range bound at best until U.S. trends improve," Piper Jaffray analyst Nicole Regan said in a note Tuesday. "Our perspective is that there are issues around inconsistent results, credibility of guidance, and management transitions."
Shares of Starbucks fell 2.2 percent in trading Wednesday, closing at $52.82 per share. The close price was just shy of Piper Jaffray's lowered price target of $53 per share, down from $60 per share.
While Regan said "many of the issues we have outlined are not new," the firm's "move to the sidelines" is due to the stock's lack of potential in "a reasonable timeframe." Piper Jaffray sees "substantial value in the opportunity for long-term store growth in China," Regan added, as well as the brand's ability to capitalize on premium options like "roastery and reserve bar locations .... on a global scale."