Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN): Upgrades to 4 STARS (accumulate) from 3 STARS (hold)
Analyst: Tina Vital
Shares are up 53% over the past month. On Thursday, Patterson was added to the S&P 400 index. Currently U.S. natural gas drilling is soft as storage levels appear adequate for winter, and the continued economic slowdown could push prices lower. S&P expects natural gas prices to rebound in 2002 on supply response to this year's cut in drilling, accelerating depletion and renewed interest in domestic supplies due to the September 11 attacks. With shares off 52-week highs by more than 50% and trading at a 40+% discount to S&P's valuation, S&P says accumulate Patterson for long-term gains.
Computer Sciences (CSC): Maintains 4 STARS (accumulate)
Analyst: Jonathan Rudy
The company posted Q2 EPS of $0.40 vs. $0.64, $0.03 above lowered estimates. Revenues were up 11%, above S&P's estimate. Computer Sciences signed a solid $5.3 billion in new business during Q2. Global outsourcing business remained strong, yet weakness continued for commercial consulting and systems integration services. S&P anticipates approximately 11% revenue growth in fiscal 2002 (March). However, S&P is lowering the fiscal 2002 EPS estimate to $2.00, from $2.10. Despite a discount to peers at 17 times S&P's fiscal 2002 estimate, with concerns over recent management execution, S&P would not add to positions.
American Express (AXP): Maintains 3 STARS (hold)
Analyst: Robert McMillan
The company announced that its American Express Centurion Bank unit agreed to acquire the credit card portfolio of BSB Bank & Trust, consisting of 7,000 consumer and business accounts with about $11.2 million in receivables, for an undisclosed amount. American Express will issue and market BSB Bank & Trust branded American Express cards to the bank's customers. This small transaction, scheduled to close in early 2002, should help American Express expand its card business. S&P is keeping the 2001 EPS estimate at $1.09 and 2002's at $1.84. However, S&P still would not add to positions until the business climate improves.