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Technology: Software

Unranked last year, Adam Holt of Morgan Stanley shoots straight in at second place.

Heather Bellini

Heather Bellini UB

second teamAdam Holt Morgan Stanley

third teamJohn DiFucci J.P. Morgan

Heather Bellini and UBS claim top honors for a fourth year running. “She can tell you anything you need to know about any of the companies she covers,” attests one port­folio man­ager. Bellini, 39, upgraded Adobe Systems, a provider of digital imaging and design software, from neutral to buy in March, at $16.92, believing that the San ­Jose–based com­pany showed upside to operating margin and earnings per share given its aggressive cost-­cutting strategy. When the stock hit $26.69 in May — for a gain of 57.7 percent that beat the sector by 25.6 percentage points — she downgraded it to neutral, on valuation. The shares continued to rise, but the sector rose faster; by late August, Adobe was only 1.7 points ahead. Bellini moved from UBS to ISI Group in August.

Unranked last year, Adam Holt of Morgan Stanley shoots straight in at second place. The analyst is “an astute stock picker,” notes one investor. ­Here’s one example: In April, Holt upgraded Microsoft Corp. to buy, at $18.92, on rising demand for the Redmond, ­Washington–based software developer’s suite of products. The stock had zipped to $24.65 by late August.

John DiFucci, unranked last year, finishes third. The J.P. Morgan analyst downgraded Citrix Systems from overweight to neutral in May, calling shares of the Fort Lauderdale, ­Florida–based developer of remote access software fully valued at $31.94, after a 63.5 percent run-up since October 2008. The stock continued to rise, closing August at $35.66, but trailed the sector by 4.4 percentage points.

Click here to see the All-America Research Teamrankings.

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