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Sterne Agee downgrades PHH following private label biz update

Sterne Agee analyst Henry Coffey Jr. on April 12 downgradedPHH Corp. to"neutral" from "buy" following the that Merrill Lynch decidedto scale back its private label business with the company and that MorganStanley may do the same.

"MSRs have a real cash/market value and we have beenhoping that either the current team would find a path to realizing this valueor sell the business to a financial buyer," Coffey said in note. Therecent announcement indicates that the company's ability to grow its privatelabel services business is "seriously at risk," he added.

The analyst lowered his price target to $13.00 from $18.00.Coffey also changed his 2016 estimate to a loss per share of 80 cents from EPSof 5 cents. He eliminated his 2017 EPS estimate of $1.50.