Raymond James Ups O'Charley's to Strong Buy

Analyst Brian Elliott thinks the restuarant operator will report at least 2% to 3% same-store sales growth in the first quarter

Raymond James upgraded O'Charley's (CHUX ) to strong buy from outperform.

Analyst Brian Elliott says he expects O'Charley's to see first-quarter same-store sales at or above the upper end of the company's estimate of breakeven to 2%, which he thinks would exceed the estimates of many peers and most of O'Charley's short sellers.

He says favorable factors from the fourth quarter of 2003, and early first-quarter 2004, coupled with very easy prior year comparisons (weather and war build-up), leads him to conclude that the restuarant operator is likely to see at least 2% to 3% growth in same-store sales for the first quarter of 2004.

Elliott sees $1.20 2004 earnings per share, and $1.50 in 2005. He has a $25 target.

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