Salomon downgrades Nice to Neutral

Victor Halpert cuts from Outperform after Nice lowered 2002 guidance
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Salomon Smith Barney said Wednesday it cut its rating on Nice Systems (Nasdaq:Nice) to Neutral from Outperform after the company lowered its 2002 earnings guidance.

Analyst Victor Halpert, in a research note, also cut his estimates and price target.

He now expects the Israeli company, which makes digital recording products, to report a 2001 loss of $1.96 a share instead of a loss of $1.86, and sees a 2002 loss of 1 cent instead of a 32-cent profit.

The 12-month price target was reduced to $15 a share from $18.

"Our U.S. enterprise IT team reports a continued murky spending outlook, which, combined with faster revenue growth reported by Nice's comps, leads us to believe that Nice may still be losing, or at a best maintaining, market share," Halpert wrote in a research note.