Merrill Slashes Enron to 'Near-Term Neutral'

Analyst Donato Eassey cut his estimates amid the energy company's formal investigation with the SEC

Merrill cut Enron (ENE ) to near-term neutral from accumulate, and long-term neutral from buy.

Analyst Donato Eassey says his view of the company's fundamentals or its ability to weather a long-term storm has not changed, but from a practical standpoint he believes the noise surrounding the SEC's move will outweigh any EPS analysis or net-asset value calculation. He thinks the timing and directional uncertainty of this new development will at best cap Enron's stock price in the mid-teen's while increasing overall volatility. He says trading will be event driven until the SEC decision. Eassey expects weakness in Dynergy, El Paso and Williams Cos., among others.

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