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UBS downgrades HR software stock Workday, citing recession fears


Human resources and financial management software Workday could be hit hard during an economic downturn, according to UBS. UBS downgraded Workday to neutral from buy. The firm also cut its price target on the stock to $275 from $185. The new target is about 5% above Workday’s close Monday. “We’re not convinced that Workday shares fully reflect the risk that back-office HR/Fins projects might be disproportionately delayed in a downturn,” UBS’s Karl Keirstead said in note Monday. “The clear tone down-tick in this round of checks was the view that ‘macro’ was now weighing on customer demand and the consensus view was that in the event of a recession, large, back-office application software deals would likely be delayed more than others,” Keirstead added. The stock is down 35.6% this year, underperforming the S & P 500’s 15.9% decline in 2022. The firm said even after Workday’s pullback, the stock still has a relatively high valuation: “We’re not sure the valuation premium to Salesforce, Microsoft and Adobe makes sense.” UBS also expects good, but “not blowout” results from Workday’s upcoming quarterly report slated for later this month. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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