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Banc of America Lowers Bed Bath & Beyond Rating

Banc of America downgraded Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) to market perform from buy.

Analyst Shelly Hale says she based her decision on valuation and short-term pressure from HomePlace closures. She notes that 84 HomePlace closures flood the market, which is significantly more than the first round of closures. She says shares are trading at lofty levels -- 43 times her $0.71 fiscal 2002 (Jan.) EPS estimate, down from $0.73, and have appreciated 23% since March 4, and hit the $30 target. Although she still likes the Bed & Bath growth story, she says there's clearly short-term concerns relating to HomePlace store closures and slowing discretionary spending, and she sees little upside to shares. Hale believes the shares are fully valued.

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