WR Hambrecht Lowers Electronic Arts to 'Sell'

Analyst William Lennan sees sluggish growth in the video-game industry along with more intense competition

WR Hambrecht downgraded Electronic Arts (ERTS ) to sell from hold.

Analyst William Lennan says weak video-games growth and a tougher share-gain environment makes Electronic Arts' December consensus estimates look aggressive. He notes North American and European video-games publishing revenue is in a steep decline. He says competitors who lost the most share last Christmas (Nintendo, Activision, Sony, and Microsoft) are much stronger this year. He also thinks a negative sector news flow will pressure Electronic Arts after Thanksgiving.

Lennan thinks fiscal 2005 (March) looks difficult due to tough product and foreign-exchange comparisons. He sees $1.10 third-quarter earnings per share, and 24 cents in the fourth quarter. He has a $37 12-month target.

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