BofA Downgrades Network Associates to 'Neutral'

Analyst Bob Stimson doesn't see much earnings upside ahead for the network security products maker, given the lack of near-term growth catalysts

Banc of America downgraded Network Associates (NET ) to neutral from buy.

The maker of network security products posted 26 cents fourth quarter earnings per share vs. a three-cent loss.

Analyst Bob Stimson says despite the slightly better results, a lack of significant upside in the current quarter and a lack of clear growth catalysts should keep the company's shares range-bound over the near-term. Therefore, he is taking profits and moving to the sidelines.

Since the stock hit bottom in October 2002, shares have more than doubled. As such, Stimson cut his $22 target to $20. Given the lack of near-term growth catalysts, he thinks shares will continue to trade at a discount to peers, at about 20 times the 90 cents 2004 fourth quarter estimate.

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