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Morgan Keegan Lowers Union Planters to 'Underperform'

Morgan Keegan downgraded Union Planters (UPC) to underperform.

Analyst Kevin Reynolds says he downgraded the bank holding company from market perform as the extent of a drop off in its mortgage-refinancing business caught management by surprise. He thinks management expected higher volume to persist far longer than it did.

Reynolds says the reduction in Union Planters' 2003 guidance came with a wider margin than he expected, and says the 2004 estimates came in sharply below expectations. He says the company failed to take steps to downsize its mortgage-refinancing operations and expand its adjustable rate-loan business as soon as some peers did in order to offset a drop in the refinancing business.

Reynolds placed his estimates under review for downward revisions.

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