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Bear Stearns is Cautious on Moody's

Bear Stearns thinks Moody's (MCO) could miss third-quarter estimates.

Analyst Kevin Gruneich says upon review of September debt issuance data from Securities Data Corp., he thinks Moody's could miss his and the consensus' $0.39 third quarter earnings per share estimates. He says Moody's has been aggressively adding staff, and he sees trend that are not quickly reversed in the case of a debt issuance vacuum. Such a vacuum surfaced in the third quarter.

Gruneich says early third-quarter debt issuance was extremely soft, but early September showed a remarkable comeback. However, the U.S. debt issuance faded later in the month, and finished down 15% for September. Gruneich is keeping the earnings per share estimates of $1.80 for 2002, and $2.05 for 2003. He is also keeping his outperform rating as he considers this a short-term phenomenon.

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