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Citigroup Downgrades Verisign

Citigroup downgrades Verisign (VRSN) to hold from buy.

Analyst Christopher R. DeBiase says he is downgrading the stock and cutting his $38 target to $29 on the view that its earnings per share upside is limited in 2005. He says, while Jamba remains a solid growth engine, he doesn't expect it to be strong enough to offset increased sales and marketing that the company plans to spend on this business.

Hence, he doesn't believe the upside in revenues will result in an upside to earnings per share. He believes that the earnings leverage due to company's ringtone business won't be seen until 2006.

DeBiase revises his 2005 estimates to 91 cents earnings per share on $1.55 billion in revenue from 92 cents earnings per share on $1.5 bilion in revenue. The company sees 90 cents 2005 earnings per share on $1.5 billion to $1.55 billion in revenue.

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