Polo35 recently wrote a positive report for DD. I believe Polo's price target is probably attainable, but think it may take until the end of 2003 to reach that price.
More importantly, I disagree with Polo's overall thesis of DD shares falling because investors aren't looking at the actual worth of DD. I believe they are looking at the worth of the business. There is a lot of risk to owning DD for the long term (2-3 years or more) because of the significant changes they are making to their company. The "worth" of DD shares is based on expected future cash flows, which are questionable given the extent of the planned changes.
I believe DD is trying to become a high-growth business in a slow growth industry and view it as a negative. They are making divestitures to focus on the core business, which is great, but plan on making a lot of acquisitions. As I noted in a past comment, I get nervous when I hear companies start talking about making a lot of acquisitions. I think DD is going to have to make a lot of acquisitions to increase normalized earnings growth, forcing them to pay higher prices for those acquisitions. My view an end result of lower returns on capital and lower free cash flow generation. If I could sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with management, I would beg them to concentrate on new products, quickly accretive acquisitions, and low cost, world class manufacturing.
Finally, I will comment on the whole analyst, market manipulation theory. The word "manipulate" has a negative connotation to it and most of the issues relating to analysts took place in the technology, Internet, and telecom industries. From what I've heard and seen, most analysts covering the chemical industry are straight shooters.
Many people out there put analysts in a Catch 22 situation whereby the analyst is always crooked. If an analyst says he/she doesn't like the stock, people say the analyst is trying to push the stock down so the firm can get the shares at a low price. If the analyst says the stock is great, people say 1) the analyst is pumping the stock because the firm owns it or 2) the analyst is pumping the stock so the firm can get out before the stock collapses. They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. The underlying assumption is that an analyst is always trying to screw you and I strongly disagree with it. Believe it or not, most analysts are highly ethical individuals.