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Lehman Ups Patterson Dental to 'Overweight'

Lehman Brothers upgraded Patterson Dental (PDCO) to overweight from equal-weight.

Analyst Lawrence Marsh says the reaction to last week's second-quarter EPS miss by one penny was overdone, and notes the shares have dropped over $11 since then. He sees continued good business trends. He noted two other times the company missed EPS, both followed by stronger trend wins in the following quarter.

He sees PDCO continuing to be active in accretive acquisitions, especially in the growing vet business. He believes this is an opportunity to buy a high quality company, showing high, predictable growth rates, and "on sale".

Marsh maintains his EPS forecast of $1.69 in fiscal year 2003 (April) and $2.02 in fiscal year 2004. He reiterates $50 price target.

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