PHILADELPHIA (AP) ¿ Shares of network hardware maker Ixia moved higher Wednesday after an analyst upgraded the stock on prospects that businesses will be bumping up capital spending and a recent acquisition will enable the company to benefit from growth in next-generation wireless networks.

Shares of Ixia rose 34 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $6.42 in midday trading.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Matthew Robison upgraded the stock to "Neutral" from "Underperform" and raised his 12-month price target by a quarter to $6.25.

He said Ixia's purchase of Catapult, a maker of wireless network test equipment, is good timing since companies are spending on 3G and 4G wireless networks. These next-generation networks allow for more efficient mobile multimedia functions such as voice, data and video.

Moreover, Robison noted that the mobile network test equipment market is fragmented ¿ with many smaller, but no dominant, players ¿ and Catapult should benefit from the movement towards the 4G standard used by phone companies known as LTE, or Long Term Evolution.

Ixia makes interface cards that performs stress tests on networks, measuring the efficiency and movement of data packets. It also makes chassis that holds the cards and software to run them. Clients include phone and router companies, as well as communications chip makers.
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