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Analyst cuts Cummins rating, citing rise in shares

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Jefferies & Co., citing the rapid ascent in price for a share of Cummins Inc., downgraded the Indiana-based engine maker's stock Friday.

Analyst Stephen Volkmann lowered his rating on the engine maker's stock to "Hold" from "Buy," noting that the shares have risen 30 percent from their October lows and are now just 10 percent below all-time highs.

Given the continued weakness in many of the markets Cummins serves, it's possible that the company's initial guidance for 2013 could come in below current average Wall Street predictions, Volkmann said.

In October, Cummins saw its third-quarter profits tumble 22 percent because of a lack of demand for commercial engines. The company it was reducing its work force by between 1,000 and 1,500 people.

Like other manufacturers, Cummins is getting hit overseas, namely in Europe, because of a widening recession and unemployment rates of around 25 percent. Companies like Ford Motor Co. closed major facilities in Europe last year and on Friday, Honda said it would cut about one in four jobs at its UK factory as it struggles with low demand.

But the U.S. is experiencing a steady recovery.

"We do see potential upside in 2013 if growth reaccelerates later in the year, particularly in North America truck and emerging markets," Volkmann wrote. He cut his 2013 profit prediction for Cummins by 50 cents to $8.75. Analysts, on average, expect a profit of $9 per share, according to FactSet.

However, Cummins apparently sees its shares as undervalued. The company, based in Columbus, approved the purchase of up to $1 billion in its own stock last month.

Shares fell 1.6 percent, or $1.83, to close at $110.61 each Friday. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $82.20 and $129.51.

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