Raymond James Cuts Tupperware to 'Underperform'

Analyst Budd Bugatch says the maker of food storage containers is experiencing a sharp downturn in Latin America and Asia

Raymond James downgraded Tupperware (TUP ) to underperform.

Analyst Budd Bugatch says his downgrade is based on poor guidance. He cut his 67 cent fourth quarter core operating earnings per share estimate to 50 cents, and trimmed the $1.47 2002 estimate to $1.30, as well as cut the $1.63 2003 estimate to $1.39.

Bugatch says problems in Mexico, Venezuela, Korea, and the Philippines are offsetting the progress being made in Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim. He thinks these issues will take longer than expected to resolve. After cutting his 2003 estimate, Bugatch says his free cash flow estimate still is positive at $41 million, but by about $19 million lower.

Given these trends -- this is Tupperware's fifth 2003 earnings per share estimate this year -- Bugatch says he's now marginally less confident that the company's dividend remains perpetually secure.

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