Markets & Finance

Morgan Stanley Upgrades Automatic Data to 'Equal-Weight'

Morgan Stanley upgraded Automatic Data Processing (ADP) to equal-weight from underweight.

The world's largest payroll processor posted cents, vs. 43 cents second-quarter earnings per share. Analyst David Togut says he upgraded ADP as second-quarter results indicated that fundamentals have reached an inflection point, and have started to improve for the first time in three years. He says the brokerage services business appears to have turned a corner; he expects the business to generate 15% of pretax profit in fiscal 2004.

Togut says a further upgrade, to overweight, would require one of the following: greater potential for aggressive a Fed Funds increase; a more attractive entry point in the mid- to high $30s; improving end-market demand, and better pricing trends.

He trimmed the $1.60 fiscal 2004 (Jun.) earnings per share estimate to $1.58, and narrowed the $1.80 fiscal 2005 estimate to $1.78.

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