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Friedman Billings Downgrades First Horizon National

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Friedman Billings downgraded First Horizon National (FHN) to underperform from market perform, after the company said Tuesday that it expects mortgage banking earnings to be unfavorably impacted this quarter by two unrelated events.

The further deterioration in the current mortgage environment is expected to reduce the company's pre-tax operating earnings by approximately $35 million as compared to the second quarter. The settlement of a class action lawsuit is anticipated to create an estimated $21 million pre-tax accrual.

Analyst Gary Townsend cuts his $3.20 2006 earnings per share (EPS) estimate to $2.80 and his $3.55 2007 EPS estimate to $3.00. Shares trade at 14.3 times and 13.4 times the analyst's revised 2006 and 2007 EPS estimates, at an unwarranted premium to the group.

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