BEA Heads Up on Suggestions of a Strong Quarter

Enterprise software vendor BEA Systems ( BEAS) was up 9.5% Friday, apparently on the strength of a Lehman Brothers note suggesting that the company's just-closed quarter was a strong one.

In recent trading, the stock was trading at $11.88, a gain of $1.88.

Lehman Brothers analyst Neil Herman said he is confident the company will make its first-quarter numbers and said he sees a potential upside of a penny to his earnings forecast of 7 cents a share. Herman also raised his target price by $2 to $12.

"We believe that BEA is going to continue to be a dominant player in the application server space, which we believe will be one of thefastest-growing sectors in software, particularly when IT spending improves. Additionally, we also believe that BEA is enjoying some success in broadening out its platform strategy, particularly in integration and portal," wrote Herman, whose company has a recent banking relationship with BEA.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect the company to earn 7 cents per share on revenue of $236.82 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004, which closed April 30. The company reports May 14.

BEA is also getting some support from Trip Chowdhry of Midwest Research, who has been the most bearish sell-side analyst covering the company. Chowdhry said the company's recently released version of its application server is getting good response in the marketplace, in part because of improved security features. The enhancements, he said, are slowing the adoption of open-source application servers, thought to have less robust security features.

Midwest does not have a banking relationship with BEA.

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