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Microsoft, Citrix Systems gain on analyst comments

    Microsoft and Citrix Systems both made modest gains Wednesday after Lehman Brothers raised its 12-month price targets on the software developers.

    Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) shares moved up 44 cents to $70.88 in early afternoon trading after moving up to $72.38 in morning trading.

    Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) gained $1.50 to $26.13.

    Lehman Brothers analyst Mike Stanek bumped Microsoft's price target to $115 a share from $85 a share.

    Stanek said in a research note that he raised the target because the "uptake" of the Windows 2000 operating system "may accelerate faster than expected."

    Several analysts pointed out that if event George W. Bush does eventual prevail in the presidential election, it could be good news for the boys in Redmond.

    "There's an assumption that Bush would be more positive toward (the Department of) Justice's case against Microsoft," S.G. Cowen analyst Drew Brousseau told Reuters.

    Microsoft is appealing a federal judge's antitrust ruling in June that the company should be split in two. The appeal will likely take the case into the next administration, which could favor Microsoft.

    In its latest quarter, Microsoft hurdled analysts' estimates, earning $2.58 billion, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $5.8 billion.

    Stanek also bumped Citrix Systems' 12-month price target to $30 a share from $22 a share and upgraded the stock from a "neutral" recommendation to a "buy."

    "We believe that Citrix will launch a significant upgrade to MetaFrame in Q101," Stanek said in a research note. "We have also modeled for FY01 top-line growth of 22 percent, but if our hunch about the Windows 2000 uptake is correct, we believe that Citrix revenue growth may in fact approach 30 percent."

    Citrix Systems also topped analysts' estimates in its latest quarter, raking in $27.5 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $113.5 million.

    Microsoft shares moved up to a 52-week high of $119.94 in December before fading to a low of $48.44 in October.

    Citrix peaked at $122.31 in March before sliding to a low of $14.25 in August.