DaVita Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of dialysis-services provider DaVita (NYS: DVA) were reeling today, falling as much as 14% in intraday trading after getting slapped with a Wall Street downgrade.

So what: An analyst at Citigroup (NYS: C) put a thumbs down on DaVita today, dropping his rating from "buy" to "hold." The primary concerns in the downgrade were the stock's valuation -- prior to today's drop it traded at 18 times trailing earnings -- and the company's exposure to legal problems with the government. Take the two together and there's a case to be made for backing away from a bullish stance.

Now what: If Wall Street analysts were always the last word in what investors should do, investing would be a lot less confusing. We'd simply follow their recommendations and get on with more important things in our lives, like watching YouTube videos.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple as Wall Street analysts don't always get it right. DaVita bulls would be wise to take note of Citigroup's concerns and figure out whether they really are reason to throttle down the optimism, but knee-jerk selling is probably a bad idea.

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At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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