Williams stock rises on good forecast

Friday, April 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Shares of Williams Companies rose 16% after an analyst upgraded the energy company's stock.

The report by Lehman Brothers cited improving finances that will boost earnings and improve credit ratings.

The report forecast that Williams will begin generating positive cash flow beginning in 2004, trimming debt and shrinking interest payments that have sapped the Tulsa-based company's profits.

The report came after Williams announced Monday that it would sell its 5,800 mile Texas Gas pipeline to Loews Corporation for more than $1-billion in cash and assumed debt.

Williams has now sold or agreed to sell $2.2-billion in assets this year, when it must pay the same amount in debt maturities. The company sold about $5-billion in assets last year.