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Heartland Express

The trucking company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $17.1 million, or 20 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $15.4 million, or 17 cents.

"Management sounded more upbeat about TL fundamentals given a constrained fleet, a balanced supply/demand equation, and the potential for an economic recovery," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Jan. 23 report. "HTLD hopes to achieve 2-3% rate growth (revenue/loaded mile, net of fuel) in 2012 and could see upside if drivers become more challenging. While the company was cautious about driver availability, HTLD does not currently plan to raise its industry-leading driver pay."

Shares of Heartland Express were upgraded to buy from hold by TheStreet Ratings.

"The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share and reasonable valuation levels," TheStreet Ratings wrote. "We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Heartland Express has a forward P/E of 17.22; the average for trucking companies is 15.88. For comparison, Old Dominion Freight Line ( ODFL) and Werner Enterprises ( WERN) both have lower forward P/Es of 14 and 13.98, respectively.

Fourteen of the 19 analysts who cover Heartland Express gave it a hold rating. Three analysts rated it a buy and two gave it a sell rating.

Heartland Express gets a B grade from TheStreet Ratings with a $16.96 price target. The stock closed at $15.05 Thursday and has increased 5.32% year to date.


Lam Research

"LRCX filed the proxy for its proposed merger with NVLS Novellus Systems yesterday after the close," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a Feb. 1 report. "There is no change in our view that the LRCX/NVLS merger will go through, and that it is unlikely that Tokyo Electron (TEL) will come in with an higher offer for NVLS."

Shares of Lam Research, the semiconductor company, were upgraded to buy from hold by TheStreet Ratings.

Lam Research has a forward P/E of 11.46; the average for semiconductor companies is 16.93. For comparison, KLA-Tencor ( KLAC) has a lower forward P/E of 10.98 and Micron Technology's ( MU) is 17.63.

Fifteen of the 18 analysts who cover Lam Research rated it a buy. Two analysts gave it a hold rating and one rated it a sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Lam Research a B- grade with a $48.22 price target. The stock closed Thursday at $42.95 and has risen 16.02% year to date.

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