JPMorgan Downgrades Graftech to Neutral from Overweight

Says the company had trouble getting good prices on its graphite electrode products, which are used by steel, electronics and semiconductor makers

JPMorgan downgraded its equity recommendation on Graftech International (GTI) to neutral from overweight, citing a "substantial reduction" in estimates he derived from the company's preliminary 2006 guidance issued late Wednesday.

Analyst Michael Gambardella Graftech couldn't secure higher graphite electrode pricing in Europe. He believes this is the chief reason for its underwhelming average 2006 graphite electrode prices. He cut his 85 cents 2006 earnings per share (EPS) estimate to 47 cents as his 2006 average graphite electrode price estimate is now $3,085 per tonne, down 9% from his previous price assumption.

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