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UBS Warburg downgraded its investment rating on the beer brewer Anheuser-Busch (BUD)
to hold from strong buy.
Analyst Caroline Levy said he trimmed estimates to reflect the likely slowdown in equity income from Latin America and theme parks. Levy believes September volumes fell about 5%, expects volume gains below previous estimates during next few quarters. She also noted soft volume generally implies softening pricing, adding further EPS risk. She trimmed 11.5% ooff her long-term EPS growth rate to 11%.
Levy also cut her 2001 EPS estiamtes to $1.87 from $1.89, 2002 EPS to $2.05 from $2.10, reflecting a more pessimistic view of consumer mood, and a more cautious stance on on-premise consumption. She also reduced her price target for the stock to $43 from $52.