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UBS Warburg downgraded Ivax (IVX
) to hold from strong buy.
Analyst Steven Valiquette says his investment thesis that Ivax's price-earnings multiple would begin to expand as the company progessed in its transition to a branded company now has been pushed out a year or two. He says the progress of late-stage clinical trials for Ivax's branded pipeline has been slower than expected. He sees more cloudiness; and says the visibility on March and June quarter earnings are low, as script trends of key products are less than favorable. Valiquette also is lowering his paclitaxel assumptions, as there is no visibility on this critical generic product. He cut his $1.25 2002 earnings per share estimate to $0.99, and trimmed the $1.45 2003 estimate to $1.19.