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Piper Jaffray Downgrades Western Digital

Piper Jaffray downgrades hard-drive maker Western Digital (WDC) to market perform.

Analyst Les Santiago says fourth-quarter revenue guidance is better than expected, but the company noted that due to higher-than-expected operating expenses (due to unexpected bad debt charge) earnings per share would remain in the 22 cents to 24 cents range.

As a result, he raises fourth-quarter revenue to $915 million. He downgrades given fact that the stock is just 2% away from its $16 target, Seagate has raised the ante on perpendicular magnetic recording technology, a transition which might happen sooner than expected, and glass media shortages heading into the second half of 2005 could cap notebook and 1-inch driver performance.

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