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S&P Information Technology Sector Recommendation Upgraded


NEW YORK, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Standard & Poor's Sector Strategy Committee of Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services has upgraded the recommendation on the Information Technology sector to "Overweight" from "Marketweight." A leading provider of independent research, indices and ratings, Standard & Poor's made this announcement through Standard & Poor's MarketScope, its real-time market intelligence service.

"Standard & Poor's economic team sees a strengthening U.S. economy over next 12 months, with an improved job count," says Thomas Smith, Semiconductor Analyst and Information Technology Sector Group Head, Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services. "Our nine technology and telecommunications equity analysts are observing low tech-goods inventories, increasingly evident equipment obsolescence, and early signs of improved orders. Within the sector, we believe semiconductors will lead the sector expansion, and telecommunications equipment will lag."

"Among Standard & Poor's "Buy" (*****) recommendations in this area are Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) at $26.00 per share, Vishay Intertechnology (NYSE: VSH) at $14.10 per share, International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) at $83.25 per share, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) at $18.50 per share, ATMI Inc. (Nasdaq: ATMI) at $27 per share, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) at $26 per share, Sybase Inc. (NYSE: SY) at $16.70 per share, Intrado Inc. (Nasdaq: TRDO) at $18.90 per share, Nextel Communications "A" Shares (Nasdaq: NXTL) at $18.70 per share, Nokia Corp. ADS (NYSE: NOK) at $15.40 per share, DoubleClick Inc. (Nasdaq: DCLK) at $10.50 per share, and Affiliated Computer Services "A" Shares (NYSE: ACS) at $46 per share," concludes Smith.

A complete list of Standard & Poor's sector recommendations follows at the end of this release.

Note to Editors:

The Standard & Poor's Sector Strategy Committee, led by Kenneth Shea, managing director of global equity research and Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist, also includes broad economic analysis from Standard & Poor's Investment Policy Committee as well as sector-specific input from Standard & Poor's equity analyst sector group leaders. The committee makes sector recommendation decisions -- overweight, underweight, or marketweight -- based on criteria that include market momentum, sector trends, economic data, and underlying company evaluations from Standard & Poor's 60 equity analysts, who issue rankings on approximately 1,200 stocks based on the proprietary Standard & Poor's Stock Appreciation Ranking System (STARS) system.

About Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's Stock Appreciation Ranking System (STARS), which was first introduced on December 31, 1986, reflects the opinions of Standard & Poor's equity analysts on the price appreciation potential of 1,200 U.S. stocks for the next 12 month period. Rankings range from five-STARS ("Buy") to one-STARS ("Sell").

Standard & Poor's analytic services are performed as entirely separate activities in order to preserve the independence of each analytic process. In this regard, STARS, which are published by Standard & Poor's Equity Research Department, operates independently from, and has no access to information obtained by Standard & Poor's Credit Market Services, which may in the course of its operations obtain access to confidential information.

Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services has the largest U.S. equity coverage count among equity research firms that are not affiliated with a Wall Street investment bank, analyzing approximately 1,200 U.S. stocks. Standard & Poor's, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leader in providing widely recognized financial data, analytical research and investment and credit opinions to the global capital markets. With 5,000 employees located in 19 countries, Standard & Poor's is an integral part of the world's financial architecture. Additional information is available at www.standardandpoors.com.

                       Standard & Poor's Sector Outlook

     Sector                       Recommendation         Details

     Consumer Discretionary        Overweight      A likely beneficiary of
                                                   still-strong housing,
                                                   effective merchandising,
                                                   and/or favorable cash flow.

     Consumer Staples              Underweight     Reduced earnings
                                                   expectations and increasing
                                                   investor emphasis on growth

     Energy                        Marketweight    A buildout of global oil
                                                   and U.S. natural gas
                                                   inventories may be offset
                                                   by peaking earnings

     Financials                    Marketweight    Effect of lower interest
                                                   rates being offset by
                                                   credit quality concerns.

     Healthcare                    Overweight      More efficient FDA,
                                                   potential Medicare drug
                                                   benefit, favorable

     Industrials                   Underweight     Negative fundamental
                                                   outlooks for leading
                                                   sub-industries, such as
                                                   aerospace and machinery.

     Information Technology        Overweight      Strengthening U.S. economy,
                                                   low tech-goods inventories,
                                                   increasingly evident
                                                   equipment obsolescence, and
                                                   early signs of improved

     Materials                     Marketweight    Selected issues may benefit
                                                   from recovering economy,
                                                   but sector should track the

     Telecommunications Services   Underweight     Sales, earnings, credit
                                                   ratings trends should
                                                   continue to pressure these

     Utilities                     Marketweight    Likely change to dividend
                                                   taxes, bottoming in
                                                   multi-utility group should

SOURCE  Standard & Poor's

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