was upgraded by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Friday, and the research firm raised its price target on the stock.
Analyst Brett Manderfeld believes earnings can increase 50% or more next year "with limited revenue improvement given cost take-out opportunities." He also expects in-line earnings this quarter with flat revenue in the third quarter.
Manderfeld upgraded Monster to outperform from market perform and raised his price target on the stock to $24 from $18.
"A gradual economic improvement in 2004 could push earnings near 90 cents a share in 2005," he said in a research report. But revenue weakness could prevail in the coming quarters, and as such, the analyst predicted cost-cutting moves in the future at the company's Ad Comms unit.
The analyst views Monster as the "pre-eminent career portal" and projected an operating margin of at least 30% long term, but he pointed out that the company is "about as economically sensitive as it gets."
Shares of Monster closed
trading up $1.15, or 5.8%, at $20.95.