Shares of Silicon Storage Technology ( SSTI - Get Report) went soaring Thursday after First Union initiated coverage of the company with a strong buy rating and a 12-month price target of $60.

Prospects for the supplier of flash memory devices are looking bright, First Union wrote. Flash memory can be found in most electronic products, including personal computers, cell phones and home entertainment devices.

Global demand for flash memory components is expected to reach $10 billion during 2000, according to IC Insight, a semiconductor market research company. "As these and other devices gain in popularity and as new generations of devices ¿ continue to emerge," said First Union, "the demand for flash memory products is expected to experience correspondingly rapid growth."

First Union expects Silicon Storage to earn 29 cent a share in its third quarter, up from 1 cent a share one year ago, and $1.06 for the year, up from a loss of 3 cents a share for 1999.

Shares of Silicon Storage were recently trading up $3.13, or 11%, to $31.31, off its 52-week high of $38.88.