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JP Morgan Downgrades Fleming Cos.

JP Morgan reduced its rating on shares of Fleming Cos. (FLM) to market perform from long-term buy.

Analyst Stephen Chick says the downgrade coincides with a cut in his estimates, to EPS of $2.00 in 2002 from $2.20, vs. the company's $2.20-$2.30 guidance. He says his earnings concerns center around acquisition integration, earnings quality, ability to attain EPS targets without taking one-time charges. Chick questions whether growth is realistic without more acquisitions. He says that while the shares look cheap at current levels, he recommends remaining on the sidelines with the stock until the company's risk profile and core earnings potential can be better assessed. For 2003, he currently sees $2.95 EPS.

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