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Ahead of the Bell: Sterne Agee downgrades PHH

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Sterne Agee analyst on Tuesday downgraded PHH Corp. to "Neutral" from "Buy," saying that recent events have driven the stock up to within pennies of its fair price.

Henry Coffey Jr., who also backed his $26 price target for the Mount Laurel, N.J.-based mortgage and fleet management company, said the company's shares climbed in recent weeks following a filing by an activist shareholder. Increased interest in what PHH's Fleet business would be worth if sold or spun off.

Over the past Month, PHH shares have risen about 21 percent, recovering losses from the first half of the year. Shares closed Monday at $25.92.