Markets & Finance

Merrill Upgrades Business Objects to 'Buy'

Merrill Lynch upgraded Business Objects (BOBJ) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Ed Maguire says his upgrade is based on valuation. He attributes recent pressure on the stock to a private research firm's report that implied severe customer dissatisfaction in Beta testing of the company's Tosca product cycle.

Maguire says his checks indicate Beta is proceeding well, and he sees ample opportunity of second half 2003 revenue upside from Tosca. He thinks Cogno's strong third quarter results are evidence of strong demand in the core Business Intelligence market. He says an announcement of a new CFO at Business Objects removes a major overhang on the stock.

Maguire sees 61 cents 2002 earnings per share (GAAP), and 78 cents for 2003. He has a $21 12-month target.

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