Markets & Finance

BofA Downgrades Network Associates to 'Neutral'

Banc of America downgraded Network Associates (NET) to neutral from buy.

The maker of network security products posted 26 cents fourth quarter earnings per share vs. a three-cent loss.

Analyst Bob Stimson says despite the slightly better results, a lack of significant upside in the current quarter and a lack of clear growth catalysts should keep the company's shares range-bound over the near-term. Therefore, he is taking profits and moving to the sidelines.

Since the stock hit bottom in October 2002, shares have more than doubled. As such, Stimson cut his $22 target to $20. Given the lack of near-term growth catalysts, he thinks shares will continue to trade at a discount to peers, at about 20 times the 90 cents 2004 fourth quarter estimate.

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