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For Symantec, a Lingering Virus by Mark Veverka
Summary: Anti-virus specialist Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) lowered its FQ3 profit projections last week from $0.14-$0.15 to $0.10-$0.11/share, and its 2007 projections from $0.56 to $0.39/share; shares plummeted 13% to $17.54. The company cited weak data-management sales, but Morgan Stanley analyst Peter Kuper says anti-virus and security software sales may be weaker than the company let on; he sees $19 as the stock's ceiling. Pricing on its Norton line is under heavy pressure from Microsoft Corp.'s (NASDAQ:MSFT) recent foray into the field, and an aggressive rebate program from rival McAfee Inc. (MFE). After losing top managers from Veritas over internal politics, Symantec has yet to prove it can lasso enterprise customers. With 39%, Veritas is still the leader in data protection and recovery, but it's losing ground to International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and EMC Corp. (NYSE:EMC). Symantec blames its shortfall on weaker-than-expected industry spending, but WR Hambrecht's Robert Stimson says its problems are unique.
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