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Jefferies Cuts PLATO Learning

Jefferies cuts PLATO Learning (TUTR) to hold from buy.

Analyst Richard Close downgrades the stock considering the uncertainty that remains following Chairman, President and CEO John Murray's departure. He notes the departure of the CEO comes uncomfortably close to recent departure of PLATO's CFO and sales manager.

Although he doesn't think the events are necessarily connected, he does believe there is a level of discontinuity within the company, and such discontinuity could dampen morale, as well as hamper effectiveness of its sales organization. Close thinks ill effects from top-level turnover could potentially bleed over into the rest of the company.

He keeps breakeven estimates for fiscal 2004 (Oct.), and sees 26 cents earnings per share for fiscal 2005.

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