CSFB Lowers CMS Energy to 'Underperform'

Analyst Curt Launer says the company's surprise dividend suspension could mean future liquidity issues

CS First Boston downgraded CMS Energy (CMS ) to underperform from neutral.

The company suspended its dividend and cut its earnings guidance. Analyst Curt Launer says the suspension of its dividend comes as a surprise given the recent improvements made by CMS in terms of asset sales and liquidity.

Launer says his first impression is future liquidity requirements including $300 million in debt due in the first quarter of 2003, the impact of lower-than-expected 2003 earnings, and write-offs of field services and international assets that have exacerbated CMS's position with its banks, causing dividend suspension.

He cut the $1.55 2003 earnings per share estimate to 50 cents, and cut the $3.55 cash flow to $2.00. He also cut the $11 target to $6.

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