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Banc of America downgraded Kimberly Clark (KMB
) to market perform from strong buy.
Analyst William Clark says the downgrade is due to foreign exchange and increasing competition across the company's paper-based businesses. He cut the $3.55 2001 EPS estimate to $3.46, and cut the $3.94 2002 estimate to $3.81. He says the currency is likely to depress results going forward, as the pound, euro and Brazilian real continue to weaken. Clark adds that price cutting could come as a low-priced private label is gaining substantial share in paper towels and toilet paper.