PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) â¿¿ Shares of Ruddick Corp., which operates the Harris Teeter supermarket chain, rose Monday after a BMO Capital Markets analyst upgraded the company to "Outperform" from "Market Perform."

THE SPARK: Ruddick has seen traffic and profit improve recently at its upscale grocery chain.

THE BIG PICTURE: Shoppers moved away from higher-end grocery stores during the recession, but some specialty grocery chains like Harris Teeter are beginning to see their business improve consumers loosen their purse strings.

THE ANALYSIS: In a note to clients, BMO Capital Markets analyst wrote that Ruddick is one of the few retailers whose free cash flow, unit sales and profit are growing. She said macroeconomic pressures such as unemployment and housing have bottomed out and are beginning to recover, which would help the company. Short raised her share price target to $38 from $32.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Ruddick rose $1.50, or 4.7 percent, to $33.31 in midday trading. Shares have traded between $21.77 and $38.16 in the past 52 weeks.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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