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Dental implant makers tumble after UBS downgrades

* Nobel Biocare, Straummn shares slide some 8 pct

* UBS cuts Nobel Biocare to sell, Straumann to neutral

* UBS lowers growth forecast for dental implant industry

ZURICH, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Shares in Swiss dental implant makers Nobel Biocare NOBN.VX and Straumann STMN.S fell sharply on Tuesday after UBS downgraded both stocks and cut its 2010/11 market growth forecasts.

UBS said it was cutting its market growth forecast to 2 to 5 percent from 4 to 6 percent on the back of the market’s performance over the last two quarters and feedback from various players, as well as from dentists.

“Based on feedback and impressions gathered at the EAO (European Association of Osseointegration) and following our more conservative market outlook, we cut our estimates for Straumann by 3-9 percent for 2010-2014 and for Nobel Biocare by 10 percent on average for 2010-2014,” the UBS analysts said in a note.

At 0915 GMT, Nobel Biocare shares were trading 7.3 percent lower at 17.33 Swiss francs, while Straumann shares were down 6.6 percent at 206.50 francs, easily underperforming a slightly weaker European healthcare index. .SXDP

UBS cut its Nobel Biocare price target to 16.40 francs from 18 francs and downgraded the stock to sell from neutral, while it lowered its Straumann price target to 230 francs from 270 francs and cut its rating to neutral from buy.

The dental implant market was hit hard during the downturn as patients shelved non-urgent treatments that are generally not reimbursed, but there was hope earlier this year that an economic recovery could lead to more demand for implants.

“The cut in estimated market growth rates is in-line with a more conservative outlook for the economy,” UBS said. (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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