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Merrill Downgrades Stellant Rating

Merrill Lynch downgraded Stellent (STEL) to long term neutral from strong buy.

Analyst Scott Phillips says fourth quarter revenues and the per share loss was worse than he forecast. He notes days of sales outstanding spiked up to 119 days despite a 33% fall in receivables. Phillips says earnings quality is the biggest concern. He sees limited prospects for meaningful growth before the end of fiscal 2003 (Mar.).

Phillips thinks the content managment software market is likely to remain challenging for the next few quarters. He believes the stock is likely to remain under pressure in the months ahead, and recommends investors sit on the sidelines pending concrete evidence of improved sales and EPS quality. He sees a $0.79 fiscal 2003 03 loss and rates the shares as near term neutral.

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