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BMC jumps on upgrades

BMC Software Inc. (Nasdaq: BMCS) popped up 14 percent Wednesday after the company got a slew of upgrades praising its Tuesday earnings news.

BMC slipped past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $123.2 million, or 49 cents a share, on sales of $476.4 million.

Shares were up 5 13/16 to 46 5/8. The stock has faltered since the company missed estimates in its third quarter.

BMC also announced it will buy back $500 million stock on the open market from time to time, depending on market conditions.

The stock was upgraded by Prudential, which raised it from "hold" to "accumulate," Credit Suisse First Boston, which raised it from "buy" to "strong buy," PaineWebber, which raised it from "neutral" to "attractive," and Merrill Lynch, which raised it from "near term neutral" to "near term accumulate."

BMC's competitors include Computer Associates (NYSE: CA), Compuware (Nasdaq:CPWR) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).