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Piper Jaffray Upgrades NetEase.com to Outperform


Piper Jaffray upgraded NetEase.com (NTES) to outperform from market perform, after the Beijing website company on Thursday posted financial results.

NetEase.com said its revenues during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2005 amounted to RMB487.3 million (US$60.4 million), compared to RMB462.6 million (US$57.2 million) for the preceding quarter.

Analyst Safa Rashtchy says the strong fourth quarter results, showing an 8% quarter over quarter rise in the company's core gaming business, renews his confidence in the company. He's less concerned that the company's two main game titles had reached the end of their lifecycles. Contrary to expectations, both the Fantasy Westward Journey and Westward Journey Online II game showed growth in the fourth quarter, which appears to be continuing in 2006. He thinks the company's next-generation games, Da Tang and Tianxia, are due in the late second quarter and early third quarter, respectively, which he thinks will aid NetEase's growth in the second half of 2006. He raises his $3.97 2006 earnings per American Depositary Share estimate to $4.11 (including stock-based compensation), and his $72 stock price target to $93.


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