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Ahead Of The Bell: The9 Downgraded At Oppenheimer

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ The9 Ltd. was downgraded Thursday by an Oppenheimer analyst, who predicted several quarters of operating losses after the company lost its license to operate "World of Warcraft," the popular online video game.

Oppenheimer analyst Paul Keung cut shares to "Perform" from "Outperform" and removed his $12 price target.

Without another blockbuster game, head count reduction or a sale of assets, Keung said the Shanghai-based company could lose 92 cents per share over the next three quarters combined, leading to a net loss for the fiscal year of 59 cents per share.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters project a profit of 79 cents per share.

Keung said The9 is also "limited as to what it can offer a potential acquirer," reducing the chance of a buyout.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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