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CompuServe suffers ratings cut

Subscriber losses earn CompuServe a downgrade; optimism for the PC market boosts Compaq's rating.

CompuServe chopped to "market underperformer"
CompuServe (CSRV) was downgraded by Chicago-based Everen Securities analyst Anthony Blenk to a short-term "market underperformer" from a "market performer."

The company's stock was down about four percent from Friday's close of 10-5/8.

Blenk lowered his short-term price target to $9 from $13 and his long-term price target to $12 from $15 a share.

"We dropped our rating because we cut our estimates," said Blenk. "They are losing subscribers faster than we had anticipated."

Compaq upped to "strong buy"
Compaq (CPQ) was upgraded by Cowen & Company analyst Richard Chu to "strong buy" from "buy." Chu said that fears of slowing growth in the PC sector are unwarranted.

The company's stock held steady in morning trading, up as high as 80-5/8 from Friday's close of 79-3/4.

Chu raised his 1997 earnings estimate to $6.10 per share from $6 and upped his 1998 estimate to $7.50 per share from $7 a share.

He put a 12-month target price of $110 on the stock.

TCI gets "accumulate"
TCI Satellite Entertainment (TSATA) was picked up by Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif with a near-term "accumulate," long-term "buy" rating. The company's stock was up 5/8, almost 6-1/2 percent, from Friday's close of 8.

Ameritech gets upped to "buy"
Ameritech (AIT) was upped by Smith Barney analysts Charles Schelke and Timothy Horan to "buy" from "outperform."

The company's stock was trading at 64-7/8, up from Friday's close of 64-1/2.

US West gets upped to "outperform"
US West (USW) was also upgraded by Smith Barney analysts Schelke and Horan. They raised their rating to "outperform" from "neutral" following a positive analysts' meeting last week.

The company's stock was up 1-1/4, from Friday's close of 35-1/2.

Black Box gets a "buy"
Network and connectivity distributor Black Box was picked up by Robertson, Stephens & Company analyst Andrew Jeffrey with a "buy" rating.

The company's stock was boosted as much as 3-1/4 points, about 11-1/2 percent, from Friday's close of 25.

"We view Black Box as the premier worldwide direct catalog distributor of computer communication and connectivity products and services," said Jeffrey.

Jeffrey's earnings per share estimates for fiscal 1997 and 1998 are $1.39 and $1.75, respectively.

Reuters contributed to this report.