Banc of America upgraded Boeing ( BA) to buy from neutral, and raised the company's price target to $45 from $28.

"Despite SARS, leasing companies are managing well, new orders are troughing and defense growth prospects have further to go," said Banc of America analyst Nick Fothergill.

The brokerage also upped its 2004 estimate for commercial aircraft deliveries by 15%.

New 2003 and 2004 EPS estimates for Boeing are $1.85, up 5%, and $2.20, up 10%, respectively, the analyst said. Analyst consensus is $1.79 for 2003 and $2.03 for 2004.

Potential downside is limited, Fothergill concluded, and Boeing is priced to buy. "At its current price of $33.17, it Boeing is valued at 15 times fiscal-year 2004 estimated EPS, representing a 12% discount to U.S. defense stocks, and 89% relative to the S&P 500," he said.

Boeing shares were up 2.3%, or 0.8%, at $33.94 in Tuesday morning trading.

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