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Southwest Keeps 'Strong Buy' on Marvel Enterprises

Southwest keeps strong buy on Marvel Enterprises (MVL).

Analyst Arvind Bhatia says Marvel preannounced it will exceed the upper end of its second-quarter guidance for all metrics. He's particularly impressed with its net debt position of $7 million, which is a big improvement of $66.3 million in the first quarter.

Bhatia says Marvel also is on track to cover the cost of its debt obligation, which is callable starting June 15, 2004 for roughly $161 million. He also says better-than-expected results are due to strength in the Incredible Hulk licensing franchise, where retail sell-through outperformed management's estimates.

Bhatia sees 80 cents 2003 earnings per share, and $1.00 for 2004. He's keeping his $25 target, which is based on shares trading at 25 times the 2004 earnings per share estimate.

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