) to neutral from buy.
Analyst Walter Winnitzki says third quarter sales were lower than he expected -- the weakest growth was in the company's U.S. operations. More importantly, he says fourth quarter sales guidance also is weak.
Winnitzki notes Ingram Micro, the company's major competitor, provided more optimistic guidance, which raises the question of whether Tech Data is losing share or whether the fourth quarter guidance is an early leading indicator of overall industry weakness.
Winnitzki cut the $0.62 fourth quarter earnings per share estimate to 56 cents and cut the $2.38 fiscal 2003 (Jan) estimate to $2.33. He also trimmed the $2.65 fiscal 2004 estimate to $2.48. He adds that it's hard to argue for a catalyst to drive shares higher in the near future.