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Merrill Upgrades General Electric to 'Buy'

Merrill Lynch upgraded General Electric (GE) to buy from neutral.

Analyst John Inch says he upgraded on both a sum-of-parts valuation, and the prospect for modest valuation multiple expansion due to GE's ongoing portfolio transformation toward higher growth and higher-return businesses. He thinks the resumption of a double-digit earnings per share trajectory will also provide an important positive share-price catalyst. Inch views 2004 to be the key inflection year as GE absorbs the last of its large negative decline for power-turbine shipments while completing and beginning to integrate several large strategic deals. Inch sees $1.60 2004 earnings per share, and $1.85 in 2005. He set a $33 target.

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