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Raymond James Lowers Triad Hospitals to 'Market Perform'

Raymond James downgraded Triad Hospitals (TRI) to market perform from strong buy.

Analyst John Ransom says essentially, Triad overbooked earnings and under-accrued bad debt reserves over the past several quarters. He adds that Triad withdrew all forward guidance as it expects bad debt expense to increase in both the fourth quarter of 2003, and full-year 2004.

Ransom also suggests somewhat limited visiblity regarding the extent of the increase going forward. He downgraded in light of this revelation of collections issues, and the somewhat uncertain outlook regarding 2004 expectations. Ransom now sees 2003 earnings per share of $2.13; he placed the 2004 earnings per share estimate under review.

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