) to hold from buy.
Analyst Joel Havard says he downgraded given Furniture Brand's disappointing outlook, and his belief that home-furnishings stocks in general could be under multiple pressure in the near term. He says the company now expects second-quarter EPS to be 41 cents to 44 cents (excluding items); his estimate was 48 cents, while the consensus had 47 cents.
Havard notes shipments are now expected to be down modestly year over year, vs. his previous sales growth est. of +4.7%. He notes the company said higher gasoline costs and lingering shakiness in consumer confidence were negative influences on demand. He cut the $2.17 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.92, and cut the $2.50 2005 estimate to $2.35.