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Merrill Trims International Multifoods Outlook

Merrill Lynch lowered its estimates on International Multifoods (IMC).

Analyst Leonard Teitelbaum says the entire baking industry been showing soft trends lately, and International Multifoods is not spared. He says softer sales of cake mixes and retailers' ongoing de-stocking are the primary reasons for his earnings adjustments. Teitelbaum lowered his fiscal 2003 (Feb.) and fiscal 2004 earnings per share estimates by about three cents each, to reflect retailers' de-stocking of some key product lines.He now sees $1.57 fiscal 2003 earnings per share, and $1.72 for fiscal 2004. Teitelbaum says his neutral rating is a function of waiting until solid momentum from the company's 2001 acquisition of Pillsbury Desserts and Specialty Products Businesses produces predictable and sustainable results.

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