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Southwest Ups NetScreen Technologies to 'Strong Buy'

Southwest Securities upgraded NetScreen Technologies (NSCN) to strong buy from neutral.

Analyst Michael Tieu says network infrastructure spending is improving, and NetScreen can benefit from this trend. He says the company's North America operations tracked ahead of expectations in the first two months of the fourth quarter, and he sees continued momentum in education, retail verticals, and improving traction in the service provider space.

Tieu believes North America operations will continue to outgrow other geographies in the fourth quarter, driving the potential for higher-than-guided financial results. He notes the effects of SARS has subsided, and says Asia-Pacific sales are improving. Tieu raised the 13 cents fourth-quarter fiscal 2003 earnings per share (Sept.) estimate to 15 cents, and upped the 63 cents fiscal 2004 earnings per share estimate to 70 cents. He also set a $30 target.

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