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Friedman Billings Cut Mine Safety to Market Perform

Friedman Billings downgraded Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) to market perform from outperform, after the company on Wednesday posted 65 cents fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) compared to 46 cents a year ago.

Analyst Michael Hoffman says that while Mine Safety Appliances met his fourth quarter forecast and the consensus, the tone of management's 2006 outlook is not as optimistic as expected. Hoffman notes that it was known military sales would be $60 million less in 2006, but solid commercial and industrial growth was expected. However, Hoffman says the company gave a mixed message about its non-military business outlook. He cut his $953 million 2006 revenue forecast to $939 million, but by using a lower tax rate, maintains his $2.25 EPS forecast. He also cut his $44 stock price target to $40.

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