FleetBoston Financial Corp., whose strong regional lending business stands to profit from further interest rate cuts, was nonetheless downgraded Tuesday by an analyst at Sandler O'Neill.

Citing concern over the banking company's exposure to the capital markets, Mark Fitzgibbon reduced his rating on FleetBoston from "buy" to "outperform." In the past month, FleetBoston shares have traded up 20% and are currently trading within 10% of Sandler O'Neill's price target of $44. The pricing, Mr. Fitzgibbon said, indicated it was time to downgrade.

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