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Baird Cuts Education Realty Trust to Neutral

Robert W. Baird downgraded Education Realty Trust (EDR) to neutral from outperform, citing the company's third quarter results posted Monday.

Analyst Christopher Lucas says the company again reported disappointing results -- 3 cents funds from operation in the third quarter vs. 15 cents consensus estimates -- reflecting the company's increased operating costs, above-budget maintenance, and marketing costs. He thinks this has damaged management's credibility, with investors likely now to take a "show me" attitude. He cut his 63 cents 2006 funds from operation estimate to 47 cents and his $1.31 2007 estimate to $1.08. He says his lower estimates put focus on the possibility of a reduced dividend. He recommends the stock at prices below $13.50, and cuts his $20 target to $15.

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