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Analyst Picks and Pans

Analyst Picks and Pans: AAPL, EBAY, NTGR

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Morgan Keegan upgrades to outperform from market perform

Apple released quarterly results after the close of trading Apr. 22. Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt said on Apr. 23 that Apple's $1.33 GAAP ($1.84 non-GAAP) earnings per share was substantially above his $1.09 ($1.19) estimates. McCourt noted that similar to past quarterss, gross margin led to outperformance, with slightly higher than expected revenues providing a modest lift. The analyst said iPod unit growth was surprisingly strong, while Mac sales were in line with expectations; iPhone shipments were well ahead of expectations, and it appears international sell-through is picking up steam.

McCourt raised his $5.33 fiscal 2009 (ending September) GAAP EPS estimate to $5.72, and his $6.26 fiscal 2010 forecast to $6.48.

eBay (EBAY)

Susquehanna Financial reitreates postive view

After the close of trading Apr. 22, eBay released quarterly results that topped analyst estimates. Susquehanna Financial analyst Marianne Wolk said on Apr. 23 that eBay has stepped up its investments to turn around the core business (more aggressive demand creation, more competitive seller commissions, expansion into adjacent markets such as liquidation, and bolstering its presence in Korea) and become more aggressive about returning shareholder value -- with a pending purchase of Gmarket (GMKT) and a planned IPO of Skype.

Wolk noted that eBay's $0.39 first-quarter EPS beat her $0.32 estimate. With a free cash flow yield of 12%, she finds eBay attractively valued for investors willing to look past the current recession. She sees $1.47 2009 EPS and has an $18 price target.

Netgear (NTGR)

Wedbush upgrades to buy from hold

Wedbush analyst Rohit Chopra said on Apr. 23 that he upgraded the shares as Netgear's $0.05 first-quarter EPS beat his $0.04 estimate, and its results pointed to stabilization in its consumer and service provider operations, which represent about 60% of sales. Chopra also cited the company's goal to cut operating expenses by $10 million in 2009, which could lead to sustained

improvement in operating performance over the next four quarters. The analyst noted that while the small- and medium business market and certain international markets have yet to bottom, improvements in consumer and service provider operations reduce risk to his estimates.

The analyst lowered his $0.35 2009 EPS estimate to $0.14 due to a new tax rate, but lifted his $9 price target to $15.

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