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First Albany Cuts Network Appliance to 'Buy'

Network Appliance (NTAP) reported fourth-quarter EPS of 7 cents, and set a $150 million stock buyback. First Albany downgraded the stock to buy.

Analyst Mark Kelleher says he is downgrading the stock on price, as the stock has appreciated significantly over the last several weeks and is within striking distance of his $17.50 target. Otherwise, the company delivered yet another good quarter, with strong revenue and EPS growth; strong cash generation; superb handling of inventories and receivables; and positive forward guidance.

Kelleher notes the company's competitive position in the storage subsystem market appears solid, and he expects the company to continue to deliver strong growth. He sees EPS of 37 cents in fiscal year 2004 (April) and 46 cents in fiscal year 2005. He kept his $17.50 price target on the shares.

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