NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Spectra Energy Corp. have reached a fair price and the company faces the risk of a weakened natural gas liquids price outlook, an analyst said Wednesday as he downgraded the stock.

Wachovia analyst Samuel Brothwell lowered the natural gas transport and storage company's stock to "Market Perform" from "Outperform."

"While we don't see an immediate threat to the dividend, we're less convinced that earnings can grow quickly enough to sustain the current payout longer-term," Brothwell said.

Growth, he added, is largely tied to the company's commodity-exposed midstream business. But Brothwell said that the long-term price of natural gas liquids is looking weak, a cause for caution and concern.

Spectra Energy also faces pressure from its high leverage ratios and about $1.1 billion in debt that matures between now and the end of 2010, Brothwell said.

Brothwell lowered his 2009 profit estimate for the company to $1 per share, compared with a previous forecast of $1.07 per share.

Shares of Spectra rose 14 cents to $14.54.

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