Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. lowered its 2000 per-share earnings estimate for United National Bancorp by 10 cents Tuesday, to $1.60, and reiterated its "market perform" rating for the Bridgewater, N.J., banking company.

Analyst Kevin T. Szocik noted a "drastic decline" in its net interest margin. Most small banks' margins have suffered from the Federal Reserve's rate hikes since June 1999, Mr. Szocik said, but $2 billion-asset United National may have been hit harder than most, because it started with lower-cost funds. "Six months ago United National was one of the better ones in the group," he said.

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