AG Edwards Downgrades Northeast Utilities

Analyst Neil Kalton says the utilities company lost out on Connecticut contract

AG Edwards downgrades Northeast Utilities (NU ) to hold from buy and cuts 2005 earnings estimates.

Analyst Neil Kalton downgrades Northeast Utilities in response to its announcement that its Select Energy unit's 2005 earnings will be materially lower than originally anticipated.

He says Select Energy reported it didn't win any of Connecticut Light & Power's 5,000 megawatt standard offer contract, while it was awarded 37.5% of this large contract last year. Kalton notes Northeast Utilities now expects a loss of 4 cents to earnings per share of 7 cents at Select Energy for 2005, vs. a previous forecast range of 25 cents to 30 cents earnings per share. Accordingly, he cuts his $1.40 2005 earnings-per-share estimate to $1.20, and his $1.50 2006 earnings-per-share estimate to $1.30.

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