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Raymond James Lowers LaBranche to 'Underperform'

Raymond James downgraded LaBranche (LAB) to underperform, from market perform.

Analyst Michael Vinciquerra says LaBranche suffered from a lower principal participation level and a lower realization rate during the third quarter. He notes the realization rate fell to 2.3 basis points, vs his 2.8 basis points estimate.

LaBranche said principal trading revenues during September were very weak, which is unsettling, considering New York Stock Exchange share volume is up 19% in September, vs. August, according to his estimates. LaBranche also thinks the activity that the NYSE is probing is insignificant, relative to the company's trading volumes.

Vinciquerra believes there's a strong likelihood for continued weakness in LaBranche's stock. He sees 39 cents 2003 earnings per share, and put his 2004 estimates under review.

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