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Adobe takes a rating knock

Investment bank W.R. Hambrecht lowered its rating Monday on Adobe Systems, saying it expects the software maker to report lower revenue and earnings for 2003. Analyst William Lennan dropped Adobe from "hold" to "sell," based on expectations that a continued weak economy will sap sales of key products such as Photoshop and Illustrator next year.

Adobe is scheduled to report financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter on Dec. 12. Lennan said the company is likely then to lower its forecast for the first quarter of 2003 and to offer little insight beyond that guidance, having made some overly optimistic forecasts for 2002. "We think the company will offer guidance only one quarter at a time for the foreseeable future," he wrote.