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Kaufman Downgrades to 'Hold'

Kaufman Brothers downgraded (FWHT) to hold from buy.

Analyst Richard Fetyko says his checks indicate that the resolution of the eSpotting acquisition could take longer than he expected, putting additional burden on overhead costs, diluting management resources and a focus on core operations -- prolonging the stock overhang. He notes the company sees a partnership with Mitsui & Co. to pursuethe Japanese market as earnings-neutral in 2004; he thinks it's too early to bake into his model.

Fetyko maintains the 55 cents 2004 earnings per share estimate for the core business. He cut the $23 target to $20. Fetyko says he'd be more constructive at $16, where he believes the risk/reward trade-off is more compelling

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