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The attack dogs, sensing the wounded, are feasting.

Lucent Technologies


is getting hammered after the company's earnings warning yesterday and downgrades from several analysts today.

The company cut its growth outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter based on lower-than-expected optical sales and declining sales of garden-variety telephone circuit-switching equipment ('cause it's all about fiber optics these days, guys; you should know that) was responsible for the expected shortfall.

In a note, analysts at

W. R. Hambrecht

point out that the loss of market share in fiber optics to leading names like







Sycamore Networks


are hurting Lucent. (Not that the market is differentiating between anything this morning -- those stocks are all getting reamed also.) And since technology is moving away from traditional switching, other analysts are hardly optimistic.

The roll call goes like this:

ABN Amro

cut the Lucent to hold from outperform;

Credit Suisse First Boston

dropped it to buy from strong buy, and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

cut it to outperform from strong buy.

Merrill Lynch



cut earnings estimates but left its rating alone;

Lehman Brothers

maintained its neutral rating, but resignedly said it expects another downward adjustment to guidance when the company reports results Oct. 24.

Earnings for the fourth quarter are expected to come in around 17 to 18 cents a share, lower than the 27-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial


After yesterday's close,



posted better-than-expected earnings, but also mixed in some cautious words that sparked concern about slowing sales growth.

Merrill Lynch analyst

Henry Blodget raised his 2001 revenue estimate to $1.45 billion from $1.41 billion, but left the 2001 earnings estimate at 59 cents a share. In the note, Blodget said that the company had managed to post a strong quarter in a tough environment and that he continues to believe the stock is a good long-term investment. He noted that the stock would essentially trade sideways because of the challenging advertising environment, which his firm expects to extend into next spring. Also, Credit Suisse First Boston started Yahoo! with a hold rating and a six-to-12-month price target of $100.



: NEW buy at ABN Amro; price target: $145.

Group Moves

Lehman Brothers

upgraded 12-month price targets on four managed care firms:

  • Humana (HUM) : UP to $13 from $9.50.
  • WellPoint (WLP) : UP to $120 from $100.
  • UnitedHealth Group (UNH) : UP to $120 from $105.
  • Cigna (CI) : UP to $130 from $120.