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Morgan Keegan Reduces Cost Plus to Underperform

Morgan Keegan downgraded Cost Plus (CPWM) to underperform from market perform, citing a lower outlook for earnings.

Analyst Laura Champine says first quarter guidance of 8 cents to 16 cents loss was below the former 8 cents earnings per share (EPS) estimate. Its 86 cents to $1.03 fiscal year 2007 (ending Jan) EPS guidance (including 14 cents in stock based compensation expense) was below the $1.34 estimate. As such, the analyst cuts a first quarter estimate to 12 cents loss, and a fiscal year 2007 EPS estimate to 95 cents, with a 14 cents EPS of fiscal year 2007 estimate reduction due to the inclusion of stock-compensation expense. The analyst recommends that investors sell shares, based on valuation, and reduced earnings outlook.

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