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Goldman Cuts Washington Mutual to Underperform

Goldman Sachs downgraded Washington Mutual (WM) to underperform from in-line.

Analyst Robert Hottensen says he thinks the stock is likely to underperform as the market digests unfavorable mortgage-banking trends, expense pressures, and new earnings estimates, which reflects increasing uncertainty and some vulnerability to an environment of expected gradual upward rate pressure.

Hottensen cut the 2004 EPS estimate to $3.00, which is the low end of guidance. He says with management suggesting a range of $3.00-$3.60 for 2004, he believes management will guide towards gradual improvement in 2005 from the 2004 base. Therefore, his $3.50 2005 EPS estimate suggests gradual improvement from trough second-quarter results.

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