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Needham Upgrades Axcelis and LTX

Needham upgrades semiconductor equipment companies Axcelis Technologies (ACLS) and LTX Corp. (LTXX) to buy from hold.

Analyst Robert Maire says he is upgrading Axcelis on improved outlook and expectations for continued spending from Japan. He believes the stock is attractively priced.

He says the company recently held a "relatively upbeat" analyst meeting showcasing its products and positioning. He sees some upside potential over the next few quarters from new product offerings and ups his 12 cents 2005 earnings per share estimate to 30 cents and 28 cents 2006 earnings per share to 50 cents.

Maire ups LTX on aggressive cost-cutting actions, broader customer base, and competitive product offering. He narrows his $1.04 fiscal 2005 (ending July) loss estimate to 89 cents and ups his $1.04 fiscal 2006 loss to 22 cents earnings per share.

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