Merrill Lynch upgraded Fresh Del Monte (FDP) to buy from neutral.
Analyst Leonard Teitelbaum says he had lowered his opinion given his belief that the filing of a lawsuit stemming from a transaction occurring in 1996 would prove to be a needless distraction for investors. He thinks this risk is assimilated into the stock at current levels. He notes as time passes, the impact of this headline news should dissipate; he thinks the multiple will reflect earnings potential.
Teitelbaum says his comfort level in new product initiatives has risen, adding strength to his earnings convictions. He sees $3.80 2003 earnings per share, and $3.95 per share for 2004. He also set a $32 target.