Beware of falling prices? Try beware of falling estimates!

Robertson Stephens

snipped

Wal-Mart's

(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

2000 and 2001 earnings estimates after the major retailer said that fourth-quarter

same-store sales would come in below estimates. The company originally wanted sales to rise between 3% and 5%, but cold temperatures and slow sales hit results.

Wal-Mart might miss estimates, saying that earnings will beat last year's 43 cents a share. Unfortunately, the analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

are looking for 46 cents a share. And when you miss estimates, or preannounce, the analysts don't like you.

Today, in reaction, Robertson Stephens cut Wal-Mart's fiscal 2000 earnings per share estimate to 1.40 from $1.42, and 2001 to $1.60 from $1.68.

But not every analyst shop was in agreement.

Prudential Securities

raised Wal-Mart's 2000 estimate to $1.41 a share from $1.40 and 2001 to $1.62 from $1.61, saying that it had already factored a bad holiday season into estimates.

Meanwhile,

3M's

(MMM) - Get 3M Company Report

recent rise in value in the wake of the hiring of new chief executive and former

General Electric

executive Jim McNerney has given it little room to go any higher. Since his hiring in December, 3M has jumped about 20%. And the folks at

Lehman Brothers

don't really think the company can go any higher -- not judging from its earnings picture, anyway.

Lehman cut 3M's 2001 earnings estimates to $4.80 a share from $5.20, telling investors that it thinks the company is fully valued and that a slowdown in technology spending will affect the bottom line. And that estimate just isn't low, it's 45 cents lower than the average Wall Street estimate -- $5.25 a share.

Supporting the move, Lehman said that 3M's electronics and communications segment, which accounted for 17% of its sales in 2000, would see lower demand for its products as a result of slower spending in technology. So will 3M's optical system branch, which makes things for liquid crystal display screens.

Lehman didn't stop with 3M, however. The brokerage also trimmed

Alcoa's

(AA) - Get Alcoa Corp. Report

fiscal estimates, cutting its 2000 earnings per share estimate to $1.78 from $1.82, and its 2001 estimate to $2.25 from $2.35. This puts Lehman more in line with the rest of its friends on Wall Street. The analysts' average estimate for 2000 was $1.79 a share, while 2001 is $2.22 a share.

Elsewhere on the blue-chip front,

UBS Warburg

took down

Hewlett-Packard's

(HWP)

first-quarter earnings estimate to 41 cents a share from 45 cents, and its full-year 2001 to $1.91 a share from $1.95. The consensus first-quarter estimate, according to First Call, was 43 cents a share, while the full-year was $1.93.

Upgrades

American Standard

(ASD)

: UP to market outperform from market perform at

Goldman Sachs

.

Black & Decker

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: UP to accumulate from neutral at

Merrill Lynch

.

Fannie Mae

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: UP to strong buy from buy at UBS Warburg.

First Data

(FDC) - Get First Data Corporation Class A Report

: UP to buy from accumulate at Merrill, price target: $71.

Health Management Associates

(HMA)

: UP to buy from hold at UBS Warburg.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at USB Warburg.

Sherwin-Williams

(SHW) - Get Sherwin-Williams Company Report

: UP to accumulate from neutral at Merrill.

Toys R Us

(TOY)

TheStreet Recommends

: UP to recommended for purchase from market perform at Goldman Sachs.

W.W. Grainger

(GWW) - Get W.W. Grainger, Inc. Report

: UP to market perform from market underperform at Goldman Sachs.

Downgrades

ClickSoftware

(CKSW)

: DOWN to neutral from buy at

SG Cowen

.

Eaton

(ETN) - Get Eaton Corp. Plc Report

: DOWN to market perform from market outperform at Goldman Sachs.

eBenX

(EBNX)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at

W.R. Hambrecht

.

Intimate Brands

(IBI)

: DOWN to hold from buy at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

Keynote

(KEYN)

: DOWN to attractive from buy at Robertson Stephens.

Limited

(LTD)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB.

Next Level Communications

(NXTV)

: DOWN to neutral from strong buy at W.R. Hambrecht.

Photon Dynamics

(PHTN)

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

Sapient

(SAPE)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at W.R. Hambrecht.

Southtrust

(SOTR)

: DOWN to hold from buy at UBS Warburg.

Initiations

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report

: NEW strong buy at CSFB; price target: $60.

Biomet

(BMET)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $41.

Eastgroup Properties

(EGP) - Get EastGroup Properties, Inc. Report

: NEW buy at UBS Warburg; price target: $24.50.

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report

: NEW neutral at Lehman Brothers.

RadioShack

(RSH)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $65.

Unilever

(UN) - Get Unilever NV ADR Report

: NEW neutral at Merrill Lynch.

USX-U.S. Steel

(X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report

: NEW neutral at Lehman Brothers.