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Baird Upgrades Affymetrix to Outperform

Affymetrix (AFFX) raised its 50 cents 2004 earnings per share estimate to 60 cents after amending a license pact. Baird upgraded the stock on the news.

Analyst Aaron Geist says he's upgrading to outperform from neutral following the company's royalty payout agreement with Oxford Gene Technology for patents related to producing microarrays. He believes this development is positive and will bring improved profitability. He notes Affymetrix will pay Oxford a total payout of $62.5 million; without the associated expense, Affymetrix upped its 2004 EPS guidance to 60 cents.

Geist sees less risk to estimates, thinks upside potential outweighs downside risk, and recommends purchase with a $34 price target (up from his former $30 target). He increased his 49 cents 2004 EPS estimate to 60 cents, and 98 cents 2005 forecast to $1.13.

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