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Analysts Turn Negative On Micron

Analysts have soured on Micron Technology's prospects in recent days.

First Albany said late last week that the memory chip maker's quarter will likely be weak, driven be declines in DRAM pricing. The firm said it expects Micron to lose a penny a share in the current quarter, below consensus estimates for a 6-cent profit, and the firm lowered full-year forecasts too.

Merrill Lynch followed on Monday, downgrading Micron to "sell" from an already lukewarm "neutral" rating.

"We believe that Micron faces more substantial financial challenges than many investors realize," Merrill said, citing 300mm conversion costs, among other issues.

"With DRAM margins expected to be in the red and inventories rising, we think the stock is likely to decline," Merrill wrote.

The broader market treaded water Monday ahead of comments by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan Monday night and Thursday that investors hope will signal an end to Fed rate hikes.

The Nasdaq rose 4 to 2075, the S&P tacked on 1 to 1197, and the Dow added 6 to 10,467. Volume declined to 1.55 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.52 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19-13 on the NYSE, and 16-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 50% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 153-21 on the NYSE, and 100-37 on the Nasdaq.

Acxiom surged 16% on a buyout offer.

Bluefly jumped 17% on a big jump in sales.

Agilent rose 2% on plans to sell its chip division.

IBM slipped 1% after losing Apple's business to Intel .

ATI tumbled 10% on a warning.

Sandisk lost 4% on a Merrill Lynch downgrade.