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Citigroup Lowers MicroStrategy to Hold

Citigroup downgraded MicroStrategy (MSTR) shares to hold from buy, and cut its $79 price target to $73.

Analyst Mark Verbeck says he's concerned about a more challenging environment for MicroStrategy ahead. He says recent price hikes are leading to dissatisfaction and in some cases, defection by customers; he notes competitors are re-focused on targeting the company's niche.

Also, Microstrategy 8 may not be quite the catalyst some had hoped for. He downgraded the stock as higher maintenance attrition rates reduce his earnings per share estimates for 2005-'07 to $3.78, $3.90, and $4.20 -- from $4.03, $4.57, and $5.17, respectively.

He notes the company will no longer hold earnings conference calls. He thinks the risk/reward is no longer compelling.

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