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Raymond James Ups Sykes Enterprises

Raymond James ups customer contact management company Sykes Enterprises (SYKE) to strong buy from market perform.

Analyst John Mahoney says Sykes exceeded expectations and its own guidance for the second quarter in a row. He says first-quarter revenue of $121.4 million was essentially flat vs. last year but still above his $118 million forecast and $115 million to $120 million guidance.

He notes Sykes is now reaping the benefits of its investments in low-cost offshore facilities. He notes the transition from rural contact center focus to offshore has not been smooth, but necessary.

Mahoney raises his 4 cents second-quarter earnings per share estimate to 6 cents, his 18 cents 2005 earnings per share estimate to 28 cents, and sets a 32 cents 2006 earnings per share estimate. He has a $9 price target on the stock.

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