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Baird Lowers Charles River Labs to 'Neutral'

Baird downgraded Charles River Labs (CRL) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Lawrence Neibor says the biotech firm cited continued weakness in pharmaceutical and biotech spending as primary causes of the change in its outlook. He cut the $1.70 2003 earnings per share estimate to $1.60, and trimmed the 2003 revenue estimate to $611.9 million. Also, he cut the $1.95 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.85, and trimmed the 2004 revenue estimate to $680.4 million.

Neibor downgraded as this development indicates general softness in an additional +50% of business as Charles River is still facing underperformance in its general toxicology service business (15% to 20% total sales), although management commented that this business is growing. He cut the target to $37 as uncertainty in majority of business units exists.

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