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UPDATE: J.P. Morgan Downgrades DuPont to Neutral, Lowers PT

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In a report published Wednesday, J.P. Morgan & Co. downgraded its rating on DuPont (NYSE: DD) from Overweight to Neutral, and lowered its price target from $58.00 to $47.00.

J.P. Morgan noted, “We downgraded DuPont from Overweight to Neutral because we believe that we can probably find a better entry price into the shares given near-term and year-ahead EPS uncertainty. DuPont's EPS will have challenges to growth in 2013 and are likely to be substantially below our previous forecasts given the severity of falling TiO2 prices, weakness in the solar area, and surprisingly little resilience in DuPont's construction-related operations. We reduced our 2012 EPS forecast from $3.70 to $3.25 and our 2013 EPS projection from $4.50 to $3.55. For all of our EPS reductions, DuPont's earnings position remains quite uncertain for 2013 principally because of the difficulty in gauging the rate of decrease in TiO2 prices, operating rates and raw material costs. The 3Q:12 TiO2 result, when annualized, represents an earnings headwind of $0.40 per share versus our previous estimate for 2013. Importantly, the collateral effect of the TiO2 uncertainty is that DuPont's repurchase effort is probably stalled given DuPont's difficulty in estimating the earnings level of a segment that had accounted for about 30% of consolidated profits in the context of a weak economic environment.”

DuPont closed on Tuesday at $45.25.

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