Analysts upgrade, downgrade Oracle

NEW YORK (AP) ? Two analysts put out duelling research reports on Oracle Corp. Friday, with one upgrading the stock while the other downgraded it.

Ed Maguire at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets upgrade the maker of database software to “Buy” from “Outperform,” saying the recent drop in the shares “more than reflects risks to the model from slowing growth.”

Oracle is focused on big enterprise customers, which is a safer segment in case there’s another downturn, and is also geographically diversified, Maguire wrote. He kept a $36 price target.

Robert Breza at RBC Capital Markets took the opposite tack, downgrading the company to “Sector Perform” from “Outperform.” He acknowledged that Oracle’s stock “is likely considered highly defensive in a choppy market,” but believes growth in its hardware sales will slow down. With several acquisitions behind it, growth will start to slow unless Oracle makes more deals, which could reduce operating margins, he wrote.

Oracle shares fell 41 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $27.29 in afternoon trading.