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Baird Downgrades Gen-Probe to 'Neutral'

Baird downgraded Gen-Probe (GPRO) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Aaron Geist says less upside exists for revenue and earnings from blood screening products. He thinks the United Kingdom hasn't started full-scale blood-testing with Gen-Probe's Procleix system. He also says he's less certain of U.S. and European demand for Gen-Probe's Ultrio testing system, and thinks recent international contract wins may come at lower-than-average prices.

Geist says Asia is the most active area for new contracts, but he thinks some countries may implement nucleic-acid testing only in urban areas, and that price concessions may be required. He cut the $30 target to $25. He sees 15 cents third-quarter earnings per share, and 67 cents for 2003.

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