Merrill Lynch

technology analyst Steve Fortuna downgraded

Gateway

(GTW)

to mid-term neutral from accumulate Tuesday, telling investors that more earnings revisions from the computer company would be likely.

Consumer demand is unlikely to rebound in the second half of the year, he said. "Also, and very importantly," Fortuna added, "we think there is a high likelihood that management significantly lowers its earnings-per-share outlook during its analyst meeting this week, well below the current $1.28 Street consensus. We are currently reviewing our fiscal 2001 EPS estimate of $1.42 pending the results of Gateway's analyst meeting."

Fortuna advised investors to use the meeting, which begins Tuesday night and runs through Wednesday, as an "opportunity to exit the shares."

Gateway shares were off 61 cents, or 3.4%, to $17.20 in early trading Tuesday on the

New York Stock Exchange

.