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Banc of America Lowers AstroPower Rating

Banc of America lowered its investment rating on solar energy company AstroPower (APWR) to market perfrom from buy citing valuation concerns. The company posted lower than expected third quarter earnings per share of $0.10 vesus $0.05 on a 37% revenue rise. Analyst James LoGerfo says the results were $0.03 below Wall Street expectations and $0.04 lower than his estimates. He added that the revenues were below expectations and that near term margin issues were related to Atersa acquisition. He noted that the Atersa acquisition accounting cost APWR $0.03 per share.

LoGerfo thinks third quarter average price per watt was "flattish" against two prior quarters, which were below his estimates, possibly due to the product mix. To reflect the mix shift and margin issues, LoGerfo timmed fourth quarter earnings per share estimate to $0.13 from $0.17 and 2002 estimate to $0.75 from $0.82. He believes the stock would be attractive in the mid-$20 range.

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