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Prudential Upgrades Akamai Technologies

Akamai Technologies (AKAM) reported third-quarter loss per share of 3 cents (GAAP), vs. a 42-cents loss a year ago. Prudential upgraded the shares to overweight.

Analyst Michael Turits says $42 million third-quarter revenues beat his $38 million estimate, and the 3-cents loss was less than half his estimate. He says revenues benefited from Microsoft (MSFT) patch downloads following August viruses, but non-virus driven revenues also were strong.

He notes the company delivered free cash flow (FCF) one quarter ahead of plan, and thinks it can maintain FCF going forward. He says the company guided to $42 million to $44 million in fourth-quarter revenues, 15% to 20% revenue growth for 2004, 30% EBITDA margins by the end of 2004, and breakeven EPS by the second quarter of 2004.

He narrowed his 32 cents 2003 loss estimate to a 25 cents loss, and ups 1 cent 2004 EPS to 11 cents in EPS. He raised his $4 price target to $8.

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