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Lehman Downgrades WorldCom to 'Market Perform'

Lehman Brothers downgraded WorldCom (WCOM) to market perform from strong buy.

Analyst Blake Bath says he lowered his revenue growth forecasts by about 300 basis points for 2002, and 200 basis points annually over the next few years, reflecting tougher demand and pricing. He expects the company to announce job and capital expenditure cuts in the weeks ahead.

Blath believes investors will be forced to analyze the combined company financials, based on unsupportable dividend and interest in MCI. He thinks the company will continue to shrink for the next several years. Blath also believes investors are exposed to multiple contraction risk given no revenue or EBITDA growth. Also, the 24-point SEC investigation will create an ongoing overhang.

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