March 19 (Reuters) - Citigroup downgraded M&T Bank Corp (MTB.N) to "hold" from "buy," saying the stock is fully valued at current levels and there are significant near-term risks due to a very uncertain economic outlook.
"With... the possibility of negative earnings per share revisions, we do not see enough downside protection to continue to recommend adding to positions here," analyst Keith Horowitz wrote in a research note.
Horowitz cut his 2009 earnings view for M&T, which counts Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) among its investors, by 40 cents to $2.70 a share to reflect a weaker economy and continued deterioration in credit quality.
"M&T's credit issues surround aggressive residential construction lending in Washington DC area and the portfolio of Alt-A mortgages taken on balance sheet in early 2007," Horowitz said.
"More recent softening is seen in auto loans and there is also the prospect of weakness in the commercial loan portfolio on the horizon."
However, Horowitz said he has a longer-term positive bias on the stock and views the lender as among the highest quality and best performing companies in the regional bank universe.
The analyst has a price target of $40 on the stock.
Shares of the company closed at $41.92 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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