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Stifel Nicolaus Cuts VeriSign to Hold

Stifel Nicolaus downgraded VeriSign (VRSN) to hold, after the company posted quarterly results.

VeriSign had 6 cents first quarter earnings per share (EPS) and said it sees 23 cents to 24 cents second quarter EPS.

Analyst Todd Weller is downgrading due to a lack of compelling reasons to recommend buying shares at current levels. He notes that the first quarter is mixed as expected, amid factors such as slightly better mobile content performance but a sluggish showing by security business. He has a fair value estimate of $25 per share for the company's core business, based on sum-of-the-parts analysis. He believes shares could become more interesting when the company's overall mobile content business stabilizes and grows. He maintains his $1.00 non-GAAP 2006 EPS estimate, but cuts his $1.20 fiscal year 2007 estimate to $1.18.

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