JPMorgan Chase & Co. has lost its distinction as the biggest U.S. financial company not to have any "sell" ratings from brokerage analysts, and an analyst blamed the potential for widening loan losses.
"A continually worsening credit environment driven by a climbing unemployment rate" will hurt JPMorgan Chase's earnings, Merrill Lynch & Co.'s Guy Moszkowski wrote in a report Monday. He reduced the stock's rating to "underperform," Merrill's equivalent of sell, from "neutral."
The report projected a fourth-quarter loss of 11 cents a share for the company and raised the possibility of a loss for all of 2009. Mr. Moszkowski cut his estimate for next year to $1.98 a share, from $3.21.
Of 18 analysts that cover JPMorgan Chase, 11 rate the stock "buy" or an equivalent, Bloomberg's data show. The other six have "hold" ratings or a variation.