) to hold from strong buy.
Analyst Scott Jones says his downgrade is based on continued softness in capital equipment sales to pharmaceutical and biotech customers recently reported by other life science tool companies, as well as his own channel checks. Jones believes there is increased risk to second half 2002 and 2003 consensus EPS expectations. As a result, he believes upside movement may be constrained in the near term. He cut his $1.34 2002 EPS estimate to $1.31, and trimmed the $1.65 2003 estimate to $1.54, to reflect more modest growth. Jones believes the stock's historical level of volatility, which is greater than the stock market, is likely to continue.