Cross Country Healthcare Rises Following Upgrade

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Cross Country Healthcare Inc. rose Friday after an analyst upgraded the health care staffing services provider, saying he sees signs of improvement in the industry.

In afternoon trading, the stock gained 99 cents, or 11 percent, to $9.85.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Tobey Sommer said he believes demand for registered and temporary nurses is improving.

"The horrific temp nurse volume declines in first-half 2009 have stabilized," he said in a note to clients. He also said the flu season could leave hospitals needing more staffers, and health care stimulus funds could provide a lift to Cross Country's clinical trials business in 2010 and 2011.

Sommer raised his rating on the stock to "Buy" from "Neutral." He kept a price target of $13 per share, which would be close to an annual high for the Boca Raton, Fla., company's shares. The stock has sunk about 42 percent in the past year, and last traded at $13 on Oct. 14, 2008.

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