BB&T Capital Ups Tractor Supply to Buy from Hold

Cites share valuation and third quarter results that beat expectations

BB&T Capital raised its investment opinion on Tractor Supply (TSCO ) to buy from hold.

Analyst Andrew Wolf said that 45 cents third quarter earnings per share beat his estimate by 5 cents. In a challenging retail environment, he thinks the company managed profitability adroitly, boosting his confidence the company can make its plan for 2005. He upgraded the stock on its third quarter outperformance and guidance, as well as a 25% drop in the stock price since late July. He noted better-than-expected third quarter earnings per share mainly reflected a better-than- forecast gross margin. He boosted his $1.95 2005 earnings per share estimate to $1.98, or 1 cent above the high end of guidance. For 2006, he raised his $2.25 earnings per share projection to $2.30 and set a new $53 12-month price target.

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