First Albany Cuts J2 Global to 'Underperform'

Analyst Youssef Squali says first quarter outperformance was more than accounted for in the 30%-plus increase in shares since February

First Albany downgraded j2 Global Communications (JCOM ) to underperform from neutral.

Analyst Youssef Squali says he set a $31 fair market value on the messaging and communications company's stock. He notes while first quarter results slightly exceeded his estimates, outperformance was more than accounted for in the 30%-plus increase in shares since February. Squali says he would be a better buyer if the stock traded in the mid- to high-$20 range.

Squali notes the first quarter consensus estimates called for 40 cents earnings per share on $14.9 million in revenues, vs. 41 cents earnings per share on $15.2 million revs posted by the company. Looking ahead, he raised his 2003 earnings per share estimate by 4 cents, to $1.92, which exceeds j2's guidance. He added $2.8 million to 2003 revenues, to $70.8 million. Finally, Squali sees $2.19 2004 earnings per share.

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