JP Morgan Upgrades Cooper Tire to 'Buy'

Analyst David Bradley thinks the company is close to being a pure play in the tire replacement market

JP Morgan upgraded Cooper Tire (CTB ) to buy from market perform.

Analyst David Bradley says his upgrade follows Friday's release of data showing a 6.2% year-to-date increase in U.S. light vehicle replacement tire shipments. He notes Cooper is close to being a pure play in the tire replacement market. He says sales for its tire unit been rising faster than the industry this year, while new business wins and plant rationalizations should boost auto unit EPS. Bradley says Cooper should see an immediate EPS impact from better industry volumes.

He raised his $0.20 Q1 EPS estimate to $0.29, $0.08 above consensus. He also raised the $1.20 2002 estimate to $1.35, and upped the $1.60 2003 estimate to $1.70. Bradley set a $24 target.

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