KeyBanc Ups Esterline Technologies to Buy

Analyst Jeffrey Hammond also boosted EPS estimates

KeyBanc upgraded Esterline Technologies (ESL) to buy from hold, explaining that the company's earnings will grow in the coming years.

Analyst Jeffrey Hammond left a recent investor meeting with increased conviction that the company's earnings per share (EPS) growth will re-accelerate in the second half of fiscal year 2006 and into fiscal year 2007. He notes that growth has been tempered by such factors as normal seasonal weakness, customer loss in the company's medical business, and limited contribution from recent acquisitions. He remains favorably disposed to the company's exposure to the robust commercial aerospace market and the moderately growing defense market (with the likelihood for inventory replenishment.) He ups his 59 cents second quarter EPS estimate to 61 cents, and his $2.20 fiscal year 2006 (ending Oct.) estimate to $2.30. He sees $2.75 EPS in fiscal year 2007.