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Wachovia Lowers Bebe Stores to 'Underperform'

Wachovia downgraded Bebe Stores (BEBE) to underperform from market perform.

Analyst Joseph Teklits says the company had 16 cents previous guidance. He says the company continues to struggle to find the right mix of merchandise (last year was too casual; this year too sophisticated), which, combined with its continued inventory issues and waning consumer spending for premium-priced merchandise, is leading to clouded earnings per share visibility.

Teklits cut his 12 cents third quarter earnings per share to five cents, cut the 88 cents fiscal 2003 (June) estimate to 78 cents, and cut the $1.11 fiscal 2004 estimate to $1.00. Given the uncertainties surrounding the company, he thinks a p-e multiple of 10-12 is justified (based on the 85 cents calendar 2003 estimate), which equates to an $8 to $10 stock price.

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