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 Josebased 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. Heres one example: In April, Holt upgraded Microsoft Corp. to buy, at $18.92, on rising demand for the Redmond, Washingtonbased software developers 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, Floridabased 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.
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