WR Hambrecht cut its rating on Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET) to hold from buy, citing the company's preliminary 2006 guidance.
Analyst Craig Bibb says the guidance range of 80 cents to 83 cents was well below his and consensus estimates of 90 cents. The company's gross margin is likely to fall 50 to 100 basis points in 2006 due to higher coffee and natural gas costs. He says the company stepped back from locking in coffee supplies for 2006 when prices were high in early 2005, and the company then made the most of its commitments during the hurricane-buffeted third quarter. He maintained his 75 cents 2005 earnings per share estimate, but cut his 90 cents 2006 estimate to 83 cents. He has a new $28 price target on the stock.