Merrill Lynch downgraded Devry (DV) to near-term neutral from from buy; and keeps long-term strong buy.
Analyst Eve Glatt says while third quarter EPS of $0.01 were above her estimate, consensus, she says she's disappointed that new student enrollment growth worsened from the prior quarter. She had upgraded Devry shares knowing that she was early but fairly confident results would not deteriorate.
However, declines accelerated, and of greater concern is that management was surprised as well. Still, Glatt likes the long-term outlook for Devry, but near term, Devry's focus on a largely technology curriculum is hurting the company as new students are hesitant to enter the field. Glatt sees $0.94 2002 EPS, and $1.12 for 2003.