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Salomon Pares Ericsson Rating

Salomon Smith Barney downgraded Ericsson's (ERICY) rating to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Thomas Robillard said he sees even higher than forecasted research and development, and selling, general and administrative costs related to the implementation of 3G-related technology. He sees ongoing handset issues, and thinks the global telecommunications provider's goal of second-half profitability is aggressive. Robillard still believes Ericsson is extremely well positioned to lead in 3G, but he thinks the company's near-term financial impact from 3G effectively reduces the outlook for its crown jewel: mobile infrastructure. He thinks the stock is expensive based on poor 3G and handset-market visibility. He cut his $0.27 2001 EPS estimate to $0.17, and cut his $15 stock-price target to $10.

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