Merrill Lynch Keeps 'Sell' on EDS

Analyst Jennifer Dugan says company management affirmed its 2003 EPS guidance, but cited risk to the downside

Electronic Data Systems (EDS ) shares fell after the company reaffirmed 2003 earnings per share guidance, but said it sees downside.

Merrill Lynch kept its sell rating on the news. Analyst Jennifer Dugan says at the company's analyst meeting, management affirmed its $1.80 to $2.00 2003 EPS guidance, but cited risk to the downside of that range. She says the new CFO is clearly still moving up the learning curve on issues, and is not surprised given the few weeks in a new position.

Dugan says she is not yet comfortable with the company's new financial management leadership. She notes the CFO could not give assurance that all problem contracts have been identified. Says this remains one of the most pressing concerns: problem contracts have claimed 40 cents per share in earnings in the last two quarters.

The analyst kept EPS estimate of $1.30 to $1.60 for 2003, but says uncertainties remain.

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