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This Mainframe Just May Power Up

Inside Wall Street


Mainframe computer makers are probably the most unloved among the depressed technology stocks. Yet the lumbering mainframe companies may stage a sharp comeback when the economy recovers. That's what money manager Scott Black believes, and he's buying not IBM but Amdahl shares, now down to 13 from a high of 20. Why?

Technically, the stock has become attractive because it has dropped to a new low, and it's selling below its book value of $14 a share, notes Black. But more than that, he sees Amdahl--a maker of IBM-compatible high-performance computer systems--posting strong results next year, thanks to its new 5995M mainframe computers.

Black, president of Delphi Management in Boston, estimates 1993 sales of $3.4 billion and earnings of $1.50 a share, up from 1992's estimated $2.8 billion and 50 cents, respectively. With the warm response to its new products and the huge order backlog, he sees Amdahl's net hitting $2.20 in 1994. His estimates are higher than the Street's consensus. Part of his bullishness stems from the belief that Amdahl will boost profit margins next year to 8%--far below the peak of 12% in 1988 but way above this year's 5%. Black figures the stock could hit 30 in a year.GENE G. MARCIAL

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