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Lehman slashes Comverse price target from $45 to $27

Company will return to solid growth in 2003, predicts analyst Tim Luke

Lehman Brothers said on Wednesday it had slashed its price target for Israel's Comverse Technology (Nasdaq:CMVT) to $27 from $45 due to weakness in global wireless equipment markets but that it was maintaining its "strong buy" recommendation.

Comverse, a computer and telecommunications systems maker, was suffering as companies deferred investment in new equipment but would return to solid growth in 2003, analyst Tim Luke wrote in a report.

"We believe that Comverse is continuing to take market share in its core market of voice messaging and boasts an impressive portfolio of new products in messaging... We look for many of these new platforms to gain traction in the second half of 2002 and into 2003," Luke wrote.

Comverse's Nasdaq-traded shares closed at $19.77 on Tuesday, above its year-low of $16.62 but well below its year-high of $124.75.

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