Software giant SAP ( SAP) was facing a host of downgrades Friday, a day after the company said its fourth-quarter revenue would
fall short of expectations. CIBC downgraded SAP to sector-perform from outperform, saying it was becoming increasingly worried about the company's ability to return to mid-teen growth in license revenue. At the same time, the firm downgraded competitor Oracle ( ORCL) to sector-performer from sector-outperformer following SAP's warning. Goldman Sachs cut its rating on SAP to neutral from buy, JMP Securities downgraded the stock to underperform from market-perform, and Jefferies lowered its rating to hold from buy. Jefferies also cut its price target on Oracle by $2 to $20. However, the firm said that while the warning by SAP signals some caution in customer spending on enterprise applications, Oracle's ability to control costs and its position in the database market will allow it to post strong earnings through 2008. Analysts had been looking for SAP's fourth-quarter sales to grow by about 17%, but they're now likely to rise by just 7%, SAP said Thursday.