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Mizuho Downgrades BD to Neutral

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Mizuho Securities analyst Peter Lawson today downgraded the stock of Becton Dickinson from Buy to Neutral.

Lawson noted that BD's shares, which closed at $83.94 on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, are within 4 percent of Mizuho's $87 price target. He noted that the firm's stock has risen 9 percent over the past three months and 12 percent over the past six months and no longer trades at a discount to its historical Price-t0-earnings multiple.

"We expect low single-digit organic growth for Becton over the next two years," Lawson wrote in a note published this morning. "Becton’s life science research business (BD Bioscience, approximately 15 percent of sales) has been a drag on results for the past year and we see no significant catalysts for the business in the near-term, as the academic market continues to be sluggish."

In addition to concerns over academic spending, Lawson cited growing diagnostic competition. However, he cited a potential new CFO, a realignment of the firm's R&D, and strengthened diagnostic positioning could serve as catalysts for the stock.

David Elkins, BD's former CFO, resigned last fall.