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CSFB Downgrades Beazer Homes

CS First Boston downgraded Beazer Homes (BZH) to neutral from outperform. On Friday, the company posted first-quarter EPS of $2.75, and reiterated its $12.25 fiscal year 2003 EPS guidance.

CSFB analyst Ivy Zelman says she sees below average same-store order growth and tough comps begining in April. She believes share repurchase would mitigate downside risk, however, she notes the company says repurchases are unlikely because of the capital-intensive nature of its business and management's belief that active repurchases would not lead to multiple expansion. She notes that return on capital fell to 13.3% in the first quarter vs. 15% last year.

Zelman sees $12.05 fiscal year 2003 (ending September) EPS, and breakeven in fiscal year 2004. She cut her $96 12-month price target to $74.

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