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Analyst Actions: Applied Materials, Bank of America, Micron, Network Appliance

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Merrill Lynch

cut

Applied Materials'

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

outlook for first-quarter EPS to 78 cents from 79 cents and the forecast for fiscal 2001 EPS to $2.95 from $3.50. Merrill also slashed the company's 12-month price target to $55 from $76. The firm cut the stock after Applied Materials reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates, but forecast first-quarter earnings below estimates.

Downgrades

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

: DOWN to market performer from buy at

J.P. Morgan

; 2000 EPS estimate DOWN to $5.05 from $5.25 and 2001 EPS estimate DOWN to $5.50 from $5.85.

Micron

(MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. Report

: first-quarter 2001 EPS estimate DOWN to 60 cents from 64 cents; fiscal 2001 EPS estimate to $2.30 from $2.60 and fiscal 2002 EPS estimate to $4.60 from $5.30 at

Prudential Securities

.

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Sealed Air

(SEE) - Get Sealed Air Corporation Report

: DOWN to hold from buy at

Credit Suisse First Boston

.

TD Waterhouse Group

(TWE)

: DOWN to outperform from strong buy at

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

; price target: $21.

Valero

(VLO) - Get Valero Energy Corporation Report

: DOWN to hold from buy at

UBS Warburg

.

Initiations

Brocade

(BRCD)

: NEW buy at

Banc of America

; price target: $300.

EMC

(EMC)

: NEW strong buy at Banc of America; price target: $120.

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get NetApp, Inc. Report

: NEW strong buy at Banc of America; price target: $125.

QLogic

(QLGC)

: NEW buy at Banc of America; price target: $150.

Torchmark

(TMK)

: NEW 12-month price target of $45 at Merrill Lynch.