NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Williams-Sonoma Inc (WSM) - Get Report are falling, down 2.54% to $78.90 in early market trading Thursday, after the home furnishings retailer was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" by analysts at BB&T Capital Markets this morning.
The firm lowered its rating on shares citing valuation, following the high-end specialty retailer's fourth quarter earnings results released late yesterday.
For the quarter, Williams-Sonoma reported earnings of $1.52 a share, in line with analysts' estimates. Revenue increased 4.8% from a year ago to $1.54 billion for the quarter, lower compared to analysts' estimates of $1.57 billion.
The company also issued outlook for the first quarter of 2015 that falls below analysts' expectations.
It now expects earnings of between 40 cents to 45 cents per share, on revenue of between $990 million to $1.01 billion. Analysts are expecting the company to report earnings of 54 cents per share on revenue of $1.04 billion for the first quarter.
Williams-Sonoma also announced a 6% increase in the company's quarterly cash dividend to 35 cents per common share from 33 cents. The dividend is payable on May 28, 2015 to shareholders of record as of April 24.
San Francisco, CA-based Williams-Sonoma is a multi-channel specialty retailer of products for the home with brands in home furnishings.
It operates business segments including Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, West Elm, Mark and Graham, and Rejuvenation.
Insight from TheStreet's Research Team:
Chris Versace and Lenore Hawkins commented on Williams-Sonoma in a recent post on RealMoney.com. Here is what Versace and Hawkins had to say about the stock:
Just because many companies are about to enter the quiet period for the current quarter -- so hard to believe there are just over two weeks left -- doesn't mean we are lacking for earnings reports this week.
In particular, Oracle (ORCL), FedEx (FDX), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), Lennar (LEN), Nike (NKE) and Darden (DRI) will be the ones to watch. For shoe-loving investors like Hawkins, it means digging into the results from Shoe Carnival (SCVL) and DSW (DSW) while chomping on some take-and-bake pizza fromPapa Murphy's (FRSH) in a Herman Miller (MLHR) desk chair, which also report this week.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC (WSM) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results." You can view the full analysis from the report here: WSM Ratings Report