First Albany Downgrades Genentech

Analyst David Webber says the biotech's sales of all its major products and total operating revenues were weaker than expected

First Albany downgrades Genentech (DNA ) to neutral from buy.

Analyst David Webber says fourth-quarter results disappointing and the company's 2005 guidance implies lower-than-expected earnings per share this year. He notes the company posted 21 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, vs. his 19 cents and consensus 22 cents estimates.

He says fourth-quarter sales of all major products were slightly below expectations, and total operating revenues also were weaker than expected. Meanwhile, he notes the company sees 2005 non-GAAP earnings per share growth of 25%-plus, implying $1.04 at the low end.

Based on 2005 guidance and fourth-quarter results, Webber cuts his $1.10 2005 earnings per share estimate to $1.02, $1.59 2006 earnings per share estimate to $1.40, and $2.07 2007 earnings per share to $1.90. He lowers his $63 price target to $51.

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