upgraded its rating on power-plant operator
to its recommended list and issued positive comments on three other utilities companies that are moving from a regulated business to a more independent business.
PPL was given a price target of $55. Goldman cited rapid growth in the nonregulated utilities business as an expectation of continued strong performance in the stock, which closed at $38.81 yesterday. This morning, the stock was trading up $1.75, or 4.7%, to $40.56. Goldman said the "transitioning" growth group is expected to provide returns of 45% to 50% over the next 12 months.
"The best total return prospects under the transitioning-growth theme are in four stocks, including
, Pacific Electric & Gas
Constellation Energy Group
( CEG) and PPL," analyst Jonathan Raleigh said in the Goldman note.
held a midquarter conference call, analysts remain generally positive on the stock.
Credit Suisse First Boston
affirmed their existing ratings.
Banc of America Securities
cut the target price on the stock to $130 from $145, but said the move reflects weakness in technology stocks, rather than specific problems with the company.
( IDR): UP to buy from accumulate at
; price target: $25.
Barnes & Noble
: UP to buy from outperform at
Salomon Smith Barney
, price target $30; UP to buy from accumulate at Merrill Lynch; price target: $35.
: UP to buy from outperform at Lehman Brothers.
: price target UP to $160 from $150 at Lehman Brothers.
: DOWN to accumulate from strong buy at
: DOWN to accumulate from strong buy at Prudential Securities.
Kulicke & Soffa
: estimates DOWN to $1.62 from $1.68 in 2000; down to 11 cents from 25 cents in 2001 at Merrill Lynch.
: NEW outperform at Salomon Smith Barney; price target: $36.
( BSYS): NEW buy at CSFB; price target: $58.
( OAT): NEW market performer at Banc of America Securities.