Analyst Actions: Network Appliance, Broadcom, Compaq, CheckFree

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Getting slammed to the deck this morning is

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

, which is losing $5.81 to $67.75 in preopen trading after the storage software company was downgraded to "market outperformer" by

Goldman Sachs

.

In addition to the downgrade, Goldman's storage analyst, Laura Conigliaro, dropped the company from Goldman's recommended for purchase list. The stock was one of the most actively traded on electronic network

Instinet

this morning, with 159,000 shares having changed hands (that's out of a total 3 million shares traded this morning).

Network Appliance is expected to earn 10 cents a share, according to the 19-broker

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus. It reports fiscal third-quarter earnings the week of Feb. 15.

By contrast,

Merrill Lynch

maintained its current buy rating on the stock. Analyst Tom Kraemer commented this morning, "In our opinion, dot-com/telco weakness will not compromise secular demand or NTAP's business model but it could in the short term eliminate incremental earnings and revenue growth. For the intermediate and longer term, we believe the stock is well-positioned."

Following its earnings report

last night, analysts have taken action on communications chip maker

Broadcom

(BRCM)

, adjusting estimates and price targets. Merrill Lynch raised 2001 earnings per share estimates to $1.52 from $1.42, and established a 2002 estimate of $2.11.

Credit Suisse First Boston

, while maintaining a buy rating on the company, lowered its price target to $175 from $300. It raised 2001 estimates to $1.55 from $1.35. Goldman Sachs raised 2001 earnings per share estimates to $1.54 from $1.42.

Lehman Brothers

and

J.P. Morgan Chase

have upgraded

Compaq

(CPQ)

to a buy rating from market perform after the company reported earnings last night,

lowering sales guidance but not earnings guidance in the process. Lehman is buying this outlook, lowering its own revenue guidance but not earnings guidance in its downgrade. J.P. Morgan Chase upped the company to a buy from long-term buy.

Upgrades

CheckFree

(CKFR)

: UP to strong buy from buy at

Robertson Stephens

.

Franklin Resources

(BEN) - Get Report

: UP to intermediate-term buy from accumulate at Merrill Lynch.

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

: UP to buy from hold at CSFB.

Integrated Circuit Systems

(ICST)

: UP to buy from market perform at Lehman Brothers.

PRI Automation

(PRIA)

: UP to buy from long-term attractive at Robertson Stephens.

Downgrades

Cadence Design Systems

(CDN)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB.

Corn Products International

(CPO)

: DOWN to hold from buy at CSFB.

Cypress Semiconductor

(CY) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from strong buy at

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

; price target DOWN to $34 from $45 at CSFB.

Flextronics

(FLEX) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

: 2001 earnings per share estimates DOWN to $1.25 from $1.30 at Lehman Brothers.

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

: DOWN to outperform from buy at

Salomon Smith Barney

.

Kimco Realty

(KIM) - Get Report

: DOWN to intermediate-term accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

LSI Logic

(LSI) - Get Report

: 2001 earnings per share estimates DOWN to $1.12 from $1.55 at Merrill Lynch.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at CSFB.

QLogic

(QLGC)

: DOWN to long-term attractive from buy at Robertson Stephens.

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

SCI Systems

(SCI) - Get Report

: DOWN to accumulate from buy at Merrill Lynch.

Sherwin-Williams

(SHW) - Get Report

: DOWN to neutral from outperform at Morgan Stanley.

USA Education

(SLM) - Get Report

: DOWN to buy from strong buy at Lehman Brothers; price target raised to $65 from $55.

Initiations

Beckman Coulter

(BEC)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $50.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals

(CBST)

: NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $46.

Stilwell Financial

(SV)

: NEW market outperformer at Goldman Sachs.