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BoA Upgrades Network Associates to 'Buy'

Banc of America upgraded Network Associates (NET) to buy from market perform.

Analyst Robert Stimson says the $0.15 pro forma earnings per share was ahead of his $0.14 estimate, with in-line revenues. More importantly, Stimson says management provided solid guidance for the fourth quarter and 2003. Stimson thinks the guidance is much firmer than what the market is expecting, and implies solid cost control efforts.

He says he was somewhat surprised on the company's overall outlook, where things are heading (especially antivirus), and costs savings coming out of the acquisition. He sees possible catalysts: Major original equipment manufacturers' announcements on antivirus, and possible acquisitions.

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