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Adams Harkness Cuts Vital Signs to 'Market Perform'

Adams Harkness downgraded Vital Signs (VITL) to market perform from strong buy.

Analyst Ryan Rauch says he cut the medical products maker's rating as the 43 cents second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations (excluding one-time charges) missed his 51 cents estimate. Rauch says weak respiratory, critical care, and diagnostic sleep sales hurt revenue, and lower-than-expected gross margins hit the bottom line. He notes the disgruntled ex-CEO is suing the company over alleged accounting violations; the lack of visibility into future earnings; and the company's continued inability to meet his expectations.

Rauch cut his $2.13 fiscal 2003 (Sep.) earnings per share estimate to $1.87, and cut the $2.42 fiscal 2004 estimate to $2.14. He also trimmed the $187 million fiscal 2003 revenue estimate to $182 million, and reduced the $208 million fiscal 2004 estimate to $200 million.

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