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Wall Street analysts take stock in Bed Bath

Cheered by a big gain in second-quarter profits and continued strong sales at superstore retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, Wall Street analysts upgraded the retailer's stock last week, and eager investors pushed the share price sharply higher.

Four Wall Street houses rushed to reward the big-box retailer, all upgrading the stock.

  • Goldman Sachs analyst Barbara Miller placed the stock on the company's "recommended" list, upgrading it from a previous rating of "market outperform."

  • Credit Suisse First Boston upgraded the stock to "strong buy" from a prior "buy."

  • Dain Rauscer Wessels retail analyst George Sutton advanced the stock to "strong buy" from an earlier "buy."

  • AG Edwards raised its rating to "accumulate" from a cautious prior "maintain position."

Miller pointed out the retailer's leadership position stems from an entrepreneurial management style, "acute attention to customer service and consistent financial management that enables strong cash flow and flexibility to focus on growth and infrastructure."

The only naysayer on Wall Street was UBS Warburg, which lowered its 12-month earnings target for Bed Bath & Beyond shares to $32 from a prior target of $37.

But none of the magic seemed to rub off on the other major big-box home furnishings player, Linens 'N Things. Indeed, two Wall Street firms downgraded the retailer's stock.

  • Merrill Lynch downgraded Linens 'N Things to "Near-Term Neutral" from a prior "Near-Term Accumulate."

  • Lehman Brothers, still bullish, but just less so, knocked the stock down a peg to "Buy" from a previous "Strong Buy."

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