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Com21 gets bad news, stock falters

Cable-modem maker Com21 Inc. (Nasdaq: CMTO) plummeted 5 1/4, or 29 percent, to 12 15/16 Thursday after it announced that it had not received CableLabs certification because it failed some software-related tests.

Com21 officials said it will now submit its cable modem for the next round of testing scheduled for late November or early December.

In July, Excite@Home Corp. (Nasdaq: ATHM) granted Level 2 approval for Com21's DOCSIS-compliant DOXport 1010 cable modem. The approval allowed Com21 to begin large-scale field deployment among Excite@Home affiliates with the Company's DOCSIS-compliant cable modem solution.

Not receiving the CableLabs stamp of approval caught some analysts by surprise.

Warburg Dillon Read analyst Stephen Chin started Com21 with a "buy" rating and set a $25 a share price target Tuesday.

At the time, Chin said the stock was undervalued and "we believe Com21 stock stands to benefit psychologically from CableLabs certification in 1999."

It still may happen, but not until late November at the earliest.

In its latest quarter, Com21 lost $2.1 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $21.5 million.

The stock peaked at 37 1/2 in April after falling to a low of 8 3/8 last September.

All three analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.>