Investment house

UBS Warburg

has reiterated its Hold rating for

Nice Systems

(Nasdaq:NICE), but has lowered its price target for the share to $13, which is 18% higher than the market.

Analyst Steven D. Levy also slashed Nice's sales forecast for 2001 to $132 million from $140 million, and sets the loss per share at a steeper $2.61.

Levy says it's impossible to rely on the North American market as a growth engine for Nice in 2001, due to the economic slowdown there.

The company's assumption that sales of its NiceVision closed circuit television (CCTV) products will not be affected by the American slowdown is wrong, says Levy. NiceVision is a digital recording solution for continuous monitoring, recording, playback and video archiving, designed for security and public safety markets. The product lets security officers follow real-time events from any camera site, monitor or desktop.

Levy expects revenues from this product to reach $27 million in 2001, but finds it unlikely that companies will replace their analog video systems with digital video systems given the U.S. economic fall-off. The analyst believes that Nice will meet its sales forecasts for the first quarter of 2001, which he projects will reach $24 million. The main change in his forecast applies to the second quarter of 2001 onwards. He believes that Nice's shares are not far from hitting rock bottom.

Two weeks ago, Bank Hapoalim's economists said that Nice shares could recover quickly, but they nevertheless reiterated their Buy recommendation, setting a price target of $16, which is 47% more than the market.

Nice shares have shed 85% in the last 12 months and are now at their lowest price since the mid-1996. Nice's market value is just $149 million.