) to hold from buy.
Analyst Aram Rubinson says the downgrade is based on fears that the company is changing too much too fast. For the past 18 months, he has watched many key veterans leave, he says. He notes that the company says sales trends reflect the weather and the economy. He thinks the aggressive change, plus the new operating team, has left sales on the table. He suggests the company needs to do more to protect its market share as competitor Lowe's (LOW
) is now more profitable.
Rubinson cut his $1.80 calendar year 2003 EPS estimate to $1.75, and his 18% growth rate forecast to 15%. He also trimmed his $48 price target to $42.50.