Citigroup upgrades Alliance Imaging (AIQ ) to buy from hold.
Analyst Matt Ripperger says his upgrade is based primarily on valuation, as Alliance stock is off more than 30% since early February.
He continues to believe the company's underlying backlog to enter into joint venture contracts to provide imaging services with a hospital system remains robust.
Ripperger notes this model has been extremely successful in outpatient surgery center arena. He views Alliance as best positioned in the imaging space, given its mobile imaging roots, to capitalize on this growing market segment. He maintains his 58 cents 2005 earnings per share, and 70 cents 2006 earnings per share estimates, along with his $15 target.