HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ Shares of Matrix Service Co. jumped Thursday as an analyst upgraded the industrial construction, repair and maintenance services company on expectations that more projects are in the works.

Analyst Michael J. Harrison of First Analysis Securities Corp. upgraded the Tulsa, Okla., company to "Overweight," or buy, from "Equal-Weight," or hold.

He said in a note to clients that Matrix's execution has been solid and the company, which serves the energy industry, "is delivering on plans to be selective and risk-averse in this challenging environment rather than chasing low-margin projects to beef up the top line and backlog."

In addition, anecdotal evidence and comments from the company suggest that bidding on projects is improving, Harrison said. Projects for construction, repair and maintenance that have been delayed in the recession will begin moving forward next year, he said.

Harrison said he also believes rising demand will lead to improved pricing, which is under pressure due to heavy competition for scarce projects.

Shares rose 45 cents, or 5 percent, to $9.18 in afternoon trading.
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