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Thomas Weisel Upgrades Charles River Labs

Thomas Weisel upgraded Charles River Labs (CRL) to strong buy from buy.

Analyst Paul Knight says the first quarter beat the Street's estimate of $0.26-$0.27. He says the company raised earnings per share guidance for the seventh consecutive time to $1.28-$1.31 for 2002. He notes the company is in the right spot of discovery services and products in a pre-clinical drug discovery to help pharmaceutical companies increase their level of products entering human clinical trials.

Knight estimates that the number of shares saleable from its November lockup decreased from about nine million to 2.4 million. He thinks the company will benefit from pharmaceutical companies' increasing focus of drug discovery and pre-clinical trial areas. He has a $45 target.

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