NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of telecommunications equipment maker Neutral Tandem Inc. rose Wednesday as an analyst upgraded the stock, saying he expects strong growth in the next couple of years and a recent sell-off makes the shares attractive.

R.W. Baird analyst William Power said in a note to investors that the company, which provides services that connect phone networks between providers, will have 36.1 percent revenue growth in 2009, while earnings per share will grow 58.3 percent.

Growing numbers of wireless subscribers and continuing strength in the company's older markets bode well for the future, Power said.

He estimates earnings per share of $1.14 in 2009, growing to $1.40 in 2010.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, expect profit of $1.16 per share and $1.43 for those years, respectively.

Power upgraded his rating on the stock to "Outperform" from "Neutral" and raised his target price by $5 to $33.

Neutral Tandem shares, which hit a 12-month high of $32.57 earlier this month and have since lost a quarter of their value, rose $2.12, or 8.7 percent, to $26.39 in afternoon trading Wednesday.

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