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Baird Cuts Cisco Systems to 'Neutral'

Baird downgraded Cisco Systems (CSCO) to neutral from outperform following the company's earnings report.

Analyst Kenneth Muth tells S&P MarketScope he is downgrading because the stock met his $18 price target. Based on channel checks and Cisco's conference call, he thinks business fundamentals are improving and would buy CSCO on weakness. He says the fourth quarter brought no real surprises; and revenues met his estimate, as did 15 cents pro forma EPS.

Muth notes the stock had a big run this year, and he did not want to downgrade it prior to the fourth-quarter data. He says management was more positive with its guidance than it has been in a while, saying a recovery is inevitable.

He kept his fiscal year 2004 (July) estimates at 63 cents in EPS and $20.3 billion in revenue. He set fiscal year 2005 estimates of 68 cents in EPS and $21.6 billion in revenue.

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