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Needham Upgrades Ceradyne

Needham upgrades technical ceramic products maker Ceradyne Inc. (CRDN) to strong buy from buy.

Yesterday the company said it received a $75.5 million delivery order for its lightweight ceramic body armor. Analyst Pierre Maccagno says Ceradyne is an attractive growth story given revenue growth alongside improving gross margins, and a technological and manufacturing leadership position in a variety of advanced ceramic materials.

He says the company also has several key strategic relationships and a large exposure to the military. He raises his $145 million 2005 armor sales estimate to $158 million following the news of his $75.5 million order.

Maccagno raises his $1.53 2005 earnings per share to $1.65 and his $2.11 2006 earnings per share to $2.38. He raises his $323.0 million 2005 revenue estimate to $336.1 million, and his $380.6 million 2006 earnings per share to $409.4 million.

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