AG Edwards downgraded Baxter International (BAX) to neutral from buy.
On Thursday the company cut its first quarter guidance. Analyst Jan Wald says pricing erosion in plasma protein products, changes in inventory management, and the impact of foreign exchange rates are hurting the renal (kidney) business and are the main reasons for the expected 2003 shortfall. Wald doesn't think recent price weakness poses an investment opportunity. She sees a risk in Baxter's bioscience and renal units, and thinks Baxter's share price may remain at lower levels until these areas are rectified. Wald doesn't see any near-term catalysts. She cut her $2.25 2003 earnings per share estimate to $2.06.