Cox Communications Inc. shares fell as much as 21% after the cable television operator was downgraded by Credit Suisse First Boston and Barrington Research Associates Inc.
Shares of Atlanta-based Cox closed down $4.83 to $20.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.
A Credit Suisse First Boston analyst cut Cox to "hold" from "strong buy." Cox was cut to "accumulate" from "strong buy" by analyst James Goss at Barrington Research in Chicago.
Goss said in a note that the market's focus on earnings per share based on generally accepted accounting principles and on free cash flow generation hurts "capital-intensive" companies such as Cox, and therefore a "more moderate positive view is appropriate."