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Prudential Boosts P&G Rating

Prudential upgraded its investment recommendation on shares of Procter & Gamble (PG) to overweight from neutral. The firm also raised its price target on the stock to $62 from $59.

Analyst Connie Maneaty says that the time is right to upgrade the stock to overweight based on its attractive valuation, despite dilution effect of the company's pending merger with Gillette (G). Maneaty says the stock price has contracted to about 17 times her calendar 2006 estimate of $3.09 (for P&G alone), 18 times her $2.94 forecast for P&G and Gillette combined; she believes the stock is compelling at these levels.

Maneaty expects news flow from the two merger partners to increase. She notes that shareholder votes for both companies are set for July 12; P&G's buyback plan resumes after the vote; EU comments on antitrust issues are due on July 15; and P&G's earnings are scheduled for release on Aug. 1, while Gillette's are due Aug. 4.

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