EMC Corp (EMC): Downgrades to 4 STARS (accumulate) from 5 STARS (buy)
Analyst: James Corridore
In light of the increased likelihood of a
sustained downturn in tech spending, S&P feels EMC is vulnerable to
further share price depreciation. Though the company has already
adopted a "worst-case scenario", S&P feels that EMC could be
forced to take 2001 revenue and EPS numbers down further. S&P is cutting its aggressive 2001 EPS estimate to $0.95 from
$1.07. At 33 times that estimate, the stock still trades at a
substantial premium to the broader market. Longer term, S&P
still likes shares of this global storage leader, but
the increased risk warrants more caution.
Millenium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM): Maintains 3 STARS (hold)
Analyst: Herman Saftlas
Abbott Labs will buy $250 million of Millenium stock over the next two years under a new alliance to develop
new diagnostics and drugs for obesity and diabetes. Both firms
will contribute their metabolic R&D pipelines (35 projects)
to a new partnership, which is expected to have two products in
clinical trials by 2002. The deal reinforces Millenium's position as a
partner of choice for big pharmaceutical and genomics collaborations.
But S&P's enthusiasm is tempered by still unproven technology, expected losses over the next few years, Millenium's $6.2 billion market capitalization and volatility in the biotech sector.
Enron Corp. (ENE): Downgrades to 3 STARS (hold) from 4 STARS (accumulate)
Analyst: Ephraim Juskowicz
S&P downgraded Enron following the termination of a Blockbuster video-on-demand deal. Under the 20-year joint venture, Enron
was to contribute fast-forward, pause, etc. and security
technologies, while Blockbuster would pay a fixed fee to Enron for each
accessed movie. The deal capitalized on Blockbuster's vast distribution
network. Although this won't affect S&P's 2001 EPS estimate of $1.72,
the move eliminates at least $7 a share of Enron's estimated discounted
future cash flows. EPS may, however, be hurt if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires more rebates by power wholesalers. At
P/E-to-growth of 2.2 times, Enron is fairly valued.
eBay (EBAY): Maintains 4
Analyst: Scott Kessler
The online auction company announced a broad e-commerce alliance with Microsoft. eBay's marketplace will be integrated into several of Microsoft's
Internet properties including Carpoint, bCentral and WebTV.
Microsoft's NET will extend eBay's application program interface
(API), which will be offered as an XML-based online service.
eBay will also deploy Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server and Passport
technologies. The deal is positive for eBay, whose shares have
plummeted over the last 10 trading days. The alliance underscores the
potential for extending eBay's platforms and licensing its API. S&P sees eBay as mostly insulated from the economic slowdown.
Andrew Corp. (ANDW): Downgrades to 3 STARS (hold) from 4 STARS (accumulate)
Analyst: Ari Bensinger
Andrew sees Q2 fiscal 2001 (Sept.) sales at
$225-$240 million, with EPS $0.08-$0.12, below S&P's
estimates of $267 million and $0.21 EPS. The lowered guidance reflects lower U.S.
telecom equipment spending. Andrew still sees strong order
and sales growth in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The wireless provider is
is cautiously optimistic about the second half of fiscal 2001, and expects
higher quarterly profits year to year. S&P is putting its estimates
under review. While S&P is concerned with the near-term impact of the
slower U.S. economy, the long-term growth outlook for the wireless
networks market remains solid.
American General (AGC): Downgrades to 4 STARS (accumulate) from 5 STARS (buy)
Analyst: Catherine Seifert
Shares opened higher amid reports that U.K.-based Prudential PLC has offered to acquire AGC for about $26.5 billion or $49.52/share. S&P will update when
more information becomes available. S&P recommends conservative
investors tender shares, but it still likes American General on a stand-alone basis if this deal is not consummated.