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First Albany Raises Netscreen Technologies to 'Buy'

Netscreen Technologies (NSCN) reported fourth-quarter EPS (GAAP) of 8 cents. First Albany upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Analyst Matt Barzowskas says he expects continued EPS and revenue growth as the company takes share in the virtual private network (VPN) market and expands into secure sockets layer VPN. He says the company is beginning to offer integrated security applications through partnerships and acquisitions. He notes the fourth quarter beat the Street estimates, and the balance sheet is solid. He says results in Americas and Europe were strong, while Asia rebounded from a weak third quarter.

Based on strong revenue and EPS growth, the analyst says NSCN garners a premium price-sales multiple to peers. He set a $31 price target. He raised his 13 cents first-quarter EPS estimate to 14 cents, and sees 62 cents in fiscal year 2004 (ending September) and 75 cents in fiscal 2005.

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