UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-Analysts cut Lehman earnings estimates

viernes 14 de diciembre de 2007 10:11 CET

(Adds details, analysts' comments, background)

Dec 14 (Reuters) - At least three brokerages, including Citigroup and Banc of America Securities, lowered their earnings estimates on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N after the company said its fourth-quarter earnings fell as the credit market crisis triggered write-downs.

Banc of America analyst Michael Hecht cut his price target on Lehman to $65 from $68, and lowered his fiscal 2008 earnings view to $6.75 a share from $7.09.

Hecht, who kept his "neutral" rating on the stock, said he continued to see fixed-income as an area of concern going into the New Year with potential markdown issues "bleeding" into 2008.

Lehman remains the most fixed-income sensitive firm and slowing fixed-income sales and trading for the industry over the course of 2007 will make it difficult for the bank to show revenue and earnings improvement, Hecht said.

CIBC analyst Meredith Whitney reduced her earnings estimates on the bank for the first three quarters, but raised her estimate for the fourth quarter.

"We expect a continued rough credit market environment in the near term. The limited visibility on future earnings causes us to take a modest growth outlook for next year," she said in a note to clients.

She maintained her "sector outperformer" rating and $79 price target on the stock.

Citigroup analyst Prashant Bhatia reiterated his "hold" rating on the stock, but lowered his 2008 and 2009 earnings-per-share estimates to $7 and $7.25 from $7.30 and $7.50, respectively.   Continuación...