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SBC Communications undefined was down 12.8% in early trading. The nation's second-largest local phone company said earnings per share would grow 11% to 14% next year, the lower end of the range of analysts' expectations. Merrill Lynch lowered its rating to accumulate from buy and cut its target to $60 from $65. It also lowered its 2001 earnings estimate to $2.55 per share from $2.60.