Salomon Smith Barney downgraded Waste Management (WMI) to outperform from buy.
Analyst Leone Young says preliminary fourth quarter earnings per share, when adjusted for non-recurring items, are disappointing. He would suspect gross margin is a problem, too, as the company cited a laundry list similar to Republic Services of economically related problems such as lower disposal volumes and product mix issues.
Although Waste Management's market strategy initiative is on target, the procurement initiative was $11 million shy. He still believes a turnaround is largely intact, but the company has hit a short-term delay exacerbated by the U.S. economy.
Young cut the $1.65 2002 EPS estimate to $1.45-$1.50 (preliminary).