) to outperform from neutral.
Analyst Gibboney Huske says software maker Siebel is near a fundamental bottom given the initial signs of stability and growth in its end markets. Her upgrade reflects her view that Siebel is optimally positioned for a spending recovery in applications, particularly in its key verticals.
Huske believes Siebel has addressed its corporate governance concerns, and is committed to cutting its cost structure. As part of a settlement announced last week in a shareholders' lawsuit, Siebel has agreed to allow shareholders to vote on executive pay, and agreed to to appoint a new director directly responsible to shareholders.
Also, Huske notes Siebel's product leadership, particularly with its verticalization strategy, should help it keep its customer relationship management market leadership. She sees 27 cents 2004 earnings per share, and raised the $9 target to $12.50.