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BB&T Downgrades Landry's Restaurants to 'Hold'

BB&T Capital downgraded Landry's Restaurants (LNY) to hold from buy.

Analyst Barry Stouffer says Landry's earnings shortfall was attributed to lower-than-expected June sales in the Joe's Crab Shack division. He says management blamed weakness on poor weather, difficult comparison-store sales, and less advertising and promotion.

Stouffer notes there's no mention of a same-store sales fall in June in Landry's press release. He says the second quarter represents the third straight quarterly same-store sales decline, giving him less confidence in his earnings per share estimates and the potential for upside surprises.

He notes Landry's stock has risen to $23.93, from $18.70 in the last two months -- surpassing his $23 target. Stouffer cut the 67 cents second-quarter earnings per share estimate to 63 cents, and trimmed the $1.76 2003 estimate to $1.71.

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