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Prudential Downgrades Questar

Prudential downgraded Questar Corp. (STR) to hold from buy.

Analyst Carol Coale cut the $2.50 2001 EPS estimate to $1.95, and cut the $2.35 2002 EPS estimate to $2.05 on a revised outlook for lower average natural-gas prices. She also cut the $37 12-month target to $28. Given the less than 12% capital appreciation and the new price target, Coale downgraded Questar to hold. She notes that the company cited weak gas prices as the culprit, having hedged only 61% of second-half production in the lower $3 per thousand cubic feet range. This is somewhat new information, Coale says, since in her last talk with the company on July 2, Questar confirmed that 52% of 2001 production was hedged.

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