BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : AUGUST 30, 1999 ISSUE
BUSINESSWEEK INVESTOR -- INSIDE WALL STREET

Zebra: It Scans for a 'Buy'


Zebra Technologies (ZBRA), the dominant maker of bar-code printers, is on a tear. At 46 3/8, the stock is up 56% so far this year, but it's still a compelling buy, says Andrew Stephens, portfolio manager of the Artisan Mid Cap Fund.

Consumers have long been used to bar codes on the items they buy. But bar coding is becoming as commonplace in the manufacturing sector as it is in retailing. ''It's part of just-in-time inventory,'' says Stephens. He says bar-coding technology also plays a role in inventories for E-commerce.

Stephens says Zebra's new products and markets could take its top-line growth to 20% from 15% and expand operating margins to 30% from 24%. The Street estimates Zebra will earn $2.14 per share this year and $2.58 next year. If so, this gives the stock a p-e of 18. Stephens thinks Zebra will beat the estimates, and the stock will reach 60 to 65 in the second half of next year.

BY JEFFREY M. LADERMAN

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