I guess mostly we are agreeing. Most of the folks seem disappointed because stock price came down. But the fact is, the stock should not have been bid up to $40 to $47 range. I used to own this stock between Aug 97 to Dec 97 in exactly same price range, (with an identical covered call position). The major reasons for the stock run up was due to the idea that BDX will be doubling the top line in 5 years time.
I am observing that wall street analysts are obsessed with the term "growth". I do agree that growth is important but the stock price run ups on some vague "PEG" is ridiculous. After my BDX shares were called off in December 97, I was stunned that the stock price ran up like it did. Then I was watching the quarterly reports regularly and was always wondering how the high prices could be justified.
I am comfortable with the current prices. The financials and fundamentals make sense so one can hold for a long term appreciation or for trading in a trading range. If the stock dips by a dollar or so, I am planning to double up with similar covered call position. My cost would work out to $22 or so.
As somebody else eloquently observed, the down grade of the debt is not a serous matter (I term that as routine) at the moment unless the company wants to issue more notes. We as share holders should worry what the company will be earning and what the market expectations could be (albeit long bond interest rate etc). Good luck.
(P.S I hope you do not consider this as "peddling". Have a look at Beckman Coulter. This is my favorite though I have not made much money out of it (yet). I think this company has assimilated the acquisition and has a good cash flow. If the next one or two years pass by without any financial debacle, I think the stock will be double. Again, this stock also is languishing because of lack of "growth" in the "top line". To me it appears bottom line will grow handsomely and that is enough. Similarly, I think the bottom line in BDX will be OK).