) to sell from buy.
The maker of interactive entertainment software posted $0.12 vs. $0.09 third quarter earnings per share. Analyst Jeetil Patel says he thinks company-specific issues are impairing the growth outlook, vs. THQ's view that the weakness is industry-related. Patel notes that THQ's in-line third quarter earnings per share were achieved with a lower tax rate. He says other concerns include: Product sell-through lower than shipments into the retail channel; an estimated $100 million of products at retail; continued balance sheet deterioration; low accounts receivables reserves in light of the economic environment; and softness and increasing competition in the handheld segment. Patel cut his $1.30 2002 earnings per share estimate to $1.15, and cut the $1.60 2003 estimate to $1.20. He also cut the target to $12.