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Microsoft Upped at SoundView

The shares are moved to outperform based on an improved 2004 spending outlook.
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SoundView bumped


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

up to an outperform rating Monday on optimism about expected software spending in 2004.

"Microsoft's calendar 2004 outlook, while not perfect, is much improved over the calendar 2003 outlook from a year ago due to strong customer spending intentions, revenue impact from products launched in calendar 2003, a better legal outlook and improved prospects for PC growth," the research shop wrote.

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The shares were recently up 18 cents, or 0.7%, to $26.16 on the Instinet premarket session, about midway between the 52-week range of $22.55 and $30. SoundView maintained its price target of $33.

SoundView recently completed a survey of 600 technology buyers and found Microsoft ranked No. 2 behind

Red Hat


in terms of spending intentions. SoundView expects the company to put up $36.7 billion in revenue and $1.17 in earnings per share next year, compared with the Thomson First Call earnings consensus $1.16 per share.