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Morgan Stanley Cuts Fresh Del Monte Rating

Morgan Stanley downgraded Fresh Del Monte (FDP) to equal-weight from overweight.

On Wednesday the company announced the acquisition of Great Britian' Fisher Foods chilled division.

Analyst Kirstin Bucci says she believes the stock is fairly valued. She notes the company faced tough competition in banana pricing in the third quarter; prices were down 6.3% year over year. She says she believes the stock fully discounts strong results.

Bucci views the Fisher Foods (produces bagged salads and fresh cut produce) acquisition as favorable. She says it further diversifies Fresh Del Monte's revenue and should double its existing fresh-cut revenues as well as create an opportunity to enhance product offerings. Bucci has a $0.09 2002 earnings per share estimate and $2.55 for 2003.

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