Merrill Cuts Rating, 2001 Earnings View on Lucent

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Merrill Lynch

downgraded telecommunications equipment maker

Lucent

(LU)

this morning, cutting its long-term rating to accumulate from buy and slashing its fiscal 2001 earnings estimate to 20 cents a share from 65 cents.

Earlier today, Lucent said it couldn't confirm its first-quarter guidance and added that a revenue recognition issue would remove about $125 million of revenue from the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30.

According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, 26 analysts expect Lucent, which is based in Murray Hill, N.J., to earn 40 cents a share for fiscal 2001.

Shares of Lucent were recently trading at a 52-week low, down $3, or 14.3%, to $17.94 in

New York Stock Exchange

composite activity. The stock has traded as low as $17.81. The 52-week closing low is $20.