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Conexant gains on upgrade

Conexant (Nasdaq: CNXT) was up 16 percent Thursday after the stock got an upgrade from Morgan Stanley based on its "compelling valuation" and the faster-than-expected ramp-up of its network access product.

Shares were up 6 11/16 to 48 3/16. The communications chipmaker plunged in February after it got a downgrad based on concerns over its price-earnings ratio.

"Relative to the pure-play comparables, CNXT is significantly undervalued and attractive," said analyst Mark Edelstone in a report.

He upgraded the stock to "strong buy" from "outperform" and reiterated $100 price target. "We expect Conexant to be able to record double-digit sequential revenue growth in this division during the next few quarters," he added.

Edlestone said Conexant's multiple should expand, and valuations should improve on expectations for several quarters of strong sequential revenue growth and margin expansion.

Edelstone raised his fiscal 2001 estimate to $1.25 from $1.20 per share, and left the 2000 estimate at 95 cents a share.

The company's top competitors unclude Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Lucent (NYSE: LU) according to Hoover's Online.