Jefferies Upgrades Certegy to 'Buy'

Analyst Craig Peckham sees earnings acceleration in 2004 for the credit card and payroll processing firm

Jefferies upgraded Certegy (CEY ) to buy from hold.

Analyst Craig Peckham says after visiting the company last week, he thinks the current valuation is exceedingly attractive, and the near term expectations are conservative. Peckham says management was particularly upbeat about non-traditional product offerings, most notably payroll check cashing. He thinks expansion is tracking ahead of the company's conservative plans, and will help boost check growth in 2004.

Peckham sees $1.54 2003 earnings per share. He thinks 2004 promises to be a year of earnings acceleration, and therefore raised his $1.70 2004 earnings per share est. to $1.75. He has a $30 target.

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