Markets & Finance

Southwest Keeps 'Strong Buy' on Marvel Enterprises

Southwest keeps strong buy on Marvel Enterprises (MVL).

Analyst Arvind Bhatia says Marvel preannounced it will exceed the upper end of its second-quarter guidance for all metrics. He's particularly impressed with its net debt position of $7 million, which is a big improvement of $66.3 million in the first quarter.

Bhatia says Marvel also is on track to cover the cost of its debt obligation, which is callable starting June 15, 2004 for roughly $161 million. He also says better-than-expected results are due to strength in the Incredible Hulk licensing franchise, where retail sell-through outperformed management's estimates.

Bhatia sees 80 cents 2003 earnings per share, and $1.00 for 2004. He's keeping his $25 target, which is based on shares trading at 25 times the 2004 earnings per share estimate.

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