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Raymond James Ups Tekelec to Strong Buy

Raymond James upgraded Tekelec (TKLC) to strong buy from outperform.

Analyst Mike Latimore says based on research at a recent Voice on the Net conference, he thinks Tekelec has won the Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, switching business with a Tier 1 wireless carrier. He thinks this will give investors confidence in the company's ability to grow the VOIP switching business over the long term.

In the near term, Latimore expects the company's financial backing of Santera and Taqua to lead to improving business and backlog growth among Tier 2 and Tier 3 customers. He sees 46 cents 2004 earnings per share, and 66 cents in 2005.

Latimore notes Tekelec has pulled back about 20%, and now offers a 33% upside to his $23 target, which is based on a p-e of 35 times his 2005 earnings per share estimate.

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