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PRIA: PRI Automation Slumping Following Earnings Warning, Analysts' Actions

PRI Automation (PRIA) lately sunk 41%, or $17.50, to $25.19 after the semiconductor industry supplier warned of lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

The company, which provides automation systems and software to the semiconductor industry, said it sees fourth-quarter net excluding items, slightly above breakeven. The 13-analyst estimate called for earnings of 52 cents. PRI cited manufacturing, capacity and supply chain problems as reasons for the shortfall.

The warning sparked several actions from analysts.

Credit Suisse First Boston

cut the company's 2001 earnings estimate to $1.15 from $2.20, while

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Merrill Lynch

cut the company's rating to neutral from accumulate.

Bear Stearns

downgraded it to neutral from attractive and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

slashed PRI to outperform from strong buy.