Markets & Finance

AG Edwards Lowers NIC Inc. to Hold

From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

AG Edwards downgraded NIC Inc. (EGOV) to hold from buy on valuation.

Analyst Peter Heckmann continues to view the story favorably, but says valuation is approaching his fair value estimate and he's unaware of near-term catalysts that could serve to generate incremental interest in the name. He is now less willing to advocate to investors to add to positions at current levels, therefore he downgrades the stock.

He will look to management to comment on its second-quarter conference call (expected in late July) on new state opportunities, ongoing renewals, and other developments.

Heckmann sees earnings per share of 18 cents in 2006 and 22 cents in 2007.

Steve Ballmer, Power Forward

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