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Merrill Cuts Jacobs Engineering Rating

Merrill Lynch downgraded Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC) to near-term accumulate from buy.

Analyst Fritz von Carp says he thinks investors have been trading companies such as Jacobs because of the news flow surrounding the energy and refining construction markets. He says he's now moderating his positive opinion due to declining multiples in the group. He notes Jacobs' EPS growth should put it in a class of high quality diversified industrials, and says the company's greatest asset is its EPS visibility and consistency.

Von Carp says EPS is in line with his estimates. He maintains his $3.21 fiscal 2001 (Sept.) EPS estimate, and his $3.69 fiscal 2002 estimate.

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