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Morgan Stanley downgraded its investment rating on Ford Motor (F
) to neutral from outperform.
Analyst Stephen Girsky says the stock has outperformed the S&P 500 by 35% this year. He believes its valuation is no longer as compelling given the current competitive environment. Girsky notes weak demand, combined with increased competition and rising inventories, suggest that Ford may have to price more aggressively and/or cut production going forward. The analyst notes that Toyota and Honda continue to use the weak yen to battle for market share, and Ford appears to be caught in the middle. He sees EPS of $2.65 in 2001 and $2.70 in 2002.