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Citigroup Downgrades Intersections

Citigroup downgrades the identity theft protection company Intersections (INTX) to hold from buy.

Analyst Tony Wible says he is downgrading to hold from buy as earnings per share before a 5-cent charge was 15 cents, vs. his 24 cents estimate. He notes shortfall reflects higher attrition, lower pricing, and higher data costs.

He says it appears the company is unable to mitigate pricing pressure with cost cuts. He is concerned the company's future growth prospects will become increasingly impaired.

While he views the company as a takeover candidate, he doesn't view the potential as justification for owning stock. He notes management expressed no interest in selling. He cuts his $1.00 2005 earnings per share estimate to 67 cents, $1.23 2006 earnings per share to 78 cents, and his $20 target to $10.

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