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J. Montgomery Downgrades NetIQ to Neutral

NetIQ (NTIQ) reported 12 cents fourth-quarter loss per share from operations (GAAP basis). J. Montgomery lowered the stock to neutral from buy.

Analyst Richard Sherman says he has been bullish on NetIQ for a few quarters, but several items from the call left him uncomfortable. He says the company missed his admittedly aggressive (i.e. above guidance) revenue estimate, as he thought the company could grow sequentially.

Sherman notes that management provided anemic revenue guidance for September, after revealing its pipeline declined and a large number of salespeople were fired in July. With revenue stalled, he says there seems little impetus to bid the stock higher except for acquisition speculation and some near term short covering.

He cuts his 23 cents fiscal year 2006 (June) EPS estimate to 8 cents, and 59 cents fiscal 2007 forecast to 38 cents.

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