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Goldman Cuts NiSource to 'Market Perform'

Goldman Sachs downgraded NiSource (NI) to market perform from market outperform.

On Thursday the gas company posted a $0.10 Q3 loss vs. $0.38 EPS from continuing operations. Analyst David Fleischer says Q3 was below his $0.05 EPS estimate. He cut the $1.90 2001 (adjusted) EPS estimate to $1.50, and cut the $2.65 2002 estimate to $2.15 to reflect poor Q3, a weak economy, lower production and marketing EPS and the pending electric rate case. He says he downgraded as NiSource has failed to meet the challenges of difficult economy, as well as difficulty in integrating Columbia Energy and creating value. Fleischer is concerned about the lack of a defined plan to attack shortfalls. He says shares are unlikely to recover until issues are resolved, but he sees the 5.2% yield as limiting the downside.

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