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Bear Stearns Downgrades Network Appliance

Bear Stearns downgrades Network Appliance (NTAP) to peer perform from outperform.

Analyst Andrew Neff says given increasing evidence of weak IT market environment -- as evidenced by shortfalls/weak results at enterprise companies including IBM -- he downgrades the stock.

He also lowers the IT hardware group rating to market underweight. While he can't claim to have clarity on the degree of weakness in enterprise spending, increasingly negative datapoints/comments for IT companies (IBM, DELL, IT distributors, and software vendors) amidst economic headwinds (high oil prices, interest rates) leads him to cut earnings per share estimates.

He cuts his 80 cents fiscal 2006 earnings per share estimate to 72 cents, and his $1.06 fiscal 2007 earnings per share estimate to 95 cents.

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