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Witness Systems (WITS / Nasdaq)
Upgrade from Neutral to Outperform. Strong quarterly traction, solid pipeline. Likely to meet or exceed estimates. Near-term target $15. 12-18 month target $18-20.
Zale Corporation (ZLC / NYSE)
Upgrade from Neutral to Outperform. Raising 2002 EPS to $2.85 from $2.80. Better than expected holiday results. Cost cutting opportunities. Weakened competitive landscape. Target $46.
CSG Systems International (CSGS / Nasdaq)
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
announced acquisuition on Monday of Lucent's billing systems for $300m and hosted a conference call. long term growth rates (03 and beyond) are expected to accelerate, rev growth 20%-25% vs prev 15%-20%, EPS growth 25%-28% vs prev 15%-20%.
FleetBoston Financial (FBF / NYSE)
maintaining attractive, $3.20 EPS estimate for 2002, and $41 target price. Argentina halted payments on debt, which we estimate could cost Fleet Boston $0.11 to $0.29 per share in additional writedowns. We also estimate that the bank's Latin American operations could contribute $0.05 to $0.10 less in 2002 EPS.
General Mills (GIS / NYSE)
Maintain buy; $55 price target; no real surprises in 2Q earnings except may be the drop in earnings from joint ventures. No surprise to us in company guidance for 3Q. Surprised by higher capital spending estimates. Internal businesses look satisfactory but there is obviously "work to do" on Pillsbury.
Homestore.com (HOMS / Nasdaq)
Announced accounting inquiry by its audit board 12/21 after the close. Expects to restate some finacial results. Halted Friday and remained halted on Monday. Reiterate Underperform.
Tiffany & Co. (TIF / NYSE)
Warburg Dillon Read
Strong Buy rated, raising price target $35 to $39. Final December results were actually a bit more positive than preliminary results. Average consumer "confidence" increased +4% -- the highest gain in 6 months.
Goldman Sachs (Internet)
For week ended 12/24 market-weighted New media coverage fell 4.8% and market-weighted E-commerce average fell 4.2%. Both underperformed the NASDAQ, down 2.2% and S&P 500, up 0.9%. Top gainers: ROOM up 12.2% and TVLY up 11
Salomon Smith Barney (Retail)
Forecasting Sears same-store sales to decline 2%-4%. TGT forecasted as declined 3%-5% unadjusted, sales trending above estimates for 3rd consecutive week. Dec. broadline same-store sales index to increase 1.1%, discount stores +3.2% & dept. stores -3.5%.
Goldman Sachs (Tobacco)
Investors with 6-12 month horizon should avoid putting fresh money in tobacco. Limited p/e expansion potential due to fundamental and litigation reasons. MO and RJR are Outperformers. LTR Recommended, attractive "sum-of-parts" valuation.
OPEC says it will cut oil exports by 1.5 million barrels even without firm cooperation from Russia.
Goldman Sachs (Retail)
Sales on-plan at most discount and dept. stores for 3rd week of Dec. We bias to high quality growth such as WMT, KM, KSS; S remains our favorite.
Bear Stearns (Sentiment)
Sentiment unch in the middle: SPX 64%, NDX 57%, 5 day moving average 62 and 59%.
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