MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) ¿ Shares of Hansen Medical Inc. soared in Thursday afternoon trading after a Brean Murray Carret & Co. analyst upgraded the stock to "Buy" from "Hold," citing its cheap price.

Hansen Medical makes medical robotic technology used with catheters. It has been hurt as the economic slump and tight credit markets have driven hospitals and physician groups to curb spending on equipment. Its stock has steadily declined over the past 52 weeks from a peak of $9.57 to recently bottom at $2.41.

The company's stock has approached all-time lows, and its current valuation "offers an attractive entry point for investors who have a longer time horizon," said analyst Jose Haresco III in a research note.

He set a target price of $4.50, which would mark a nearly 69 percent premium to the stock's Wednesday closing price of $2.67. On Thursday, Hansen shares climbed 27 cents, or more than 10 percent, to $2.94.

Haresco expects Hansen to post a loss per share of 95 cents in 2010, which is smaller than analysts' current consensus estimate of $1.11 per share. He said the stock's valuation is lower than its peer group "and we believe that the stock's valuation can catch up with its peer group as the fundamentals improve."

Last month, Hansen reported its third-quarter loss narrowed to $11.9 million from $12.9 million a year earlier, as cost cutting helped offset a sharp drop in revenue to $4.6 million from $9.6 million.
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