-- More than 95 per cent of the companies in the survey released earlier this week are listed as "will be compliant" or "likely" to be ready. But 157 are listed in the category of "don't know" because a response couldn't be obtained or information wasn't conclusive.
"In general, companies appear reasonably confident of their own Y2K issues but uncertain about those same issues at their suppliers and customers," said Jeanne Terrile, an analyst and vice president at Merrill Lynch. "Few companies expect earnings to be noticeably impacted by Y2K expenses, although the cost of compliance is reported to be much higher in the US than elsewhere."
The survey, "Y2K: Implications for Investors" lists no US-based companies that Merrill Lynch follows as unlikely to be ready, but it does list as "less likely" Sequent Computer Systems. Sequent expects to have less than 90 per cent of its systems compliant in time.
Analysts also said several major hardware makers declined interviews, and as a result, IBM and Hewlett-Packard are listed as "don't know".
In Asia, excluding Japan, telecommunications regulators haven't imposed year 2000 compliance schedules, leading to more uncertainty. Merrill Lynch's Terrile said the utilities in Pakistan, Malaysia and China "seem least prepared" for the date change.