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Upside Seen for Autodesk

Reseller data look promising, says one analyst.


(ADSK) - Get Autodesk, Inc. Report

, which is offering unexpected rebates to customers, appears on track to deliver a small upside to its fourth quarter, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

In a research note published Tuesday, Munster said he has recently spoken to 10 of the software maker's major resellers and found that most expect to meet or exceed their quotas. The upside may not be very large; on average the resellers expect to deliver about 103% of their targets.

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According to Munster, Autodesk is offering a $125 rebate to customers who upgrade from 2002 versions of the company's products. Without the discount, he said, those customers would likely have waited to upgrade. (Piper Jaffray does not have an investment banking relationship with Autodesk.)

Shares of Autodesk, which makes software used in engineering and other technical fields, appreciated by 13% during 2005, and is currently trading at roughly 30 times 2006 estimates. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect the Sausalito, Calif., company to deliver a profit of 36 cents a share on sales of $411.6 million in the quarter. They are targeting a per-share price of $48.09.

In recent trading, though, shares were off 54 cents, or 1.3%, to $42.39.