CS First Boston Downgrades Cigna to 'Hold'

Analyst Joseph France says soaring medical costs are hurting shares of the employee-benefits organization

CS First Boston downgraded Cigna (CI ) to hold from buy.

Analyst Joseph France says health care operating earnings were $5 million below his estimate, reflecting higher medical costs in managed care operation. He downgraded Cigna as medical costs accelerated and retirement benefits continued to disappoint.

France notes the company expects 2001 premium yields of about 12%, with costs to trend 12%-13%. He cut the 2001 EPS by $0.15 to $7.25, and trimmed the 2002 estimate by $0.20 to $8.15.

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