February 12, 2008 / 4:44 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-Friedman cuts MasTec to market perform

2 IN. DI LETTURA

(Recasts, adds details, share movement)

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Friedman Billings Ramsey downgraded MasTec Inc (MTZ.N) to "market perform" from "outperform," a day after the telecommunications contractor's peer Dycom Industries Inc (DY.N) forecast a weak January quarter on weak customer spending.

Several unfavorable items, including uncertain impact of AT&T Inc (T.N) replacing DirecTV Group Inc DTV.O with EchoStar Communications Corp (DISH.O) in 2008, will restrict investor interest until visibility improves and raises the level of uncertainty surrounding near-term earnings, the brokerage said.

Friedman cut its estimates for the company to 13 cents from 14 cents a share for the fourth quarter and to 78 cents from 90 cents a share for 2008.

The brokerage, which also cut its price target on MasTec to $9 from $15, said a lingering exposure to the residential construction market is likely to hold back the company's growth.

Shares of the Coral Gables, Florida-based company were down 79 cents to $7.71 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Aditi Samajpati in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy; )

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