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Wedbush Morgan Keeps Buy on Sotheby's

Sotheby's Holdings (BID) posts 67 cents, vs. 66 cents, second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations. Wedbush Morgan reiterates a buy opinion on the stock.

Analyst Rommel T. Dionisio says 67 cents second-quarter EPS from continuing operations beat his 57 cents estimate, and $178 million in revenues beat his $160 million estimate. He says the key driver for the upside surprise was higher-than-expected auction commission margin rate, which can be attributed to the impact of increased buyer's commission rates implemented earlier this year. He also cites continued strength of the global art auction market.

Dionisio sees solid momentum entering into the second half of 2005. He raised 75 cents 2005 EPS estimate to 84 cents, and 87 cents for 2006 to 93 cents to reflect second-quarter upside and robust trends in the international art market. He has a $22 price target on the shares.

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