(Dole, Chiquita story updated with analyst commentary and stock price changes)

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Both Dole Food ( DOLE) and Chiquita Brands ( CQB) are popping on investment upgrades based on expectations of better supply and demand dynamics in the banana market.

Shares of Dole are up 4.7% to $10.62 after analysts Heather Jones and Brett Hundley from BB&T Capital Markets raised it to buy from hold. With their improved view on the banana market, the two have also raised their fiscal 2011 earnings per share estimate for Dole to $1.21 from $1.17. If banana supply and demand dynamics improve as expected in the first half of 2011, "we believe our new estimate is likely conservative" and should have been even better, the wrote in a client note on Wednesday.

The analysts have a $12, 12-month price target for Dole.

Due to their expectations of improved taxes, the analysts revised their fourth-quarter outlook for Dole to loss of 2 cents a share, from the prior expectation for loss of 9 cents a share.

In late October, Jones and Hundley downgraded Dole over U.S. pricing and European Union oversupply concerns.

Also upgraded to buy from hold by BB&T on anticipation of improved banana market conditions, Chiquita shares have risen 6.4% to $13.59. The company's fiscal 2011 earnings per share estimates were raised to $1.71 from $1.61 by the analysts on Wednesday. As with Dole, if the banana supply and demand scenario unfolds as expected in the first half of 2011, this new estimate would be looked back on as conservative.

The analysts have left their fourth-quarter earnings target for Chiquita unchanged because they believe that in the near term, the company will have to pay higher prices for fruit. Also, any improvements pricing improvements that the company did experience occurred late in the quarter. Chiquita's upgrade also follows a late-October downgrade due to U.S. pricing and produce oversupply concerns in the European Union. BB&T's 12-month price target for Chiquita is $15.
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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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