Merrill Lynch Lowers 2000 Earnings Projection

By John S. McClenahen With third-quarter results disappointing a lot of investors and many major companies warning that fourth-quarter results won't be anything to celebrate, it should be no surprise that Merrill Lynch & Co. has lowered its 2000 earnings projection. The New York-based securities firm now expects the S&P 500 operating earnings-per-share figure to gain 15%, a full percentage point below its previously projected 16%. The reason: second-half 2000 economic growth is coming in "lower than we expected," says Merrill Lynch chief economist Bruce Steinberg. However, he still believes that earnings will rise 10% in 2001.

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