Sour Note For Classic

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Merrill Lynch & Co. lowered its near-term rating on Classic Cable Inc. to "neutral" from "accumulate" and its long-term rating to "accumulate" from "buy" after a disappointing earnings report. Classic reported a 1 percent rise in pro forma revenue, and its pro forma cash flow declined 2.4 percent in the second quarter. Merrill Lynch called that "very weak" and added, "It may take more time than originally anticipated for management to turn around the declining trends." Classic's share price fell 75 cents to $3.69 Aug. 15. Classic went public last December at $25 per share.