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Analyst raises OpenTable's rating, price target

Shares of OpenTable are rising Tuesday as an analyst lifted his rating and price target for the company, saying it's likely to at least meet Wall Street's expectations for the fourth quarter.

OpenTable Inc. — which allows people to make restaurant reservations through its website — is expected to report its quarterly results on Thursday.

Mark May of Citi Investment Research said in a client note that he expects OpenTable's quarterly earnings to be in line with the consensus estimate of 52 cents per share. He predicts revenue will probably be at least in line with his forecast for $51.7 million.

The analyst also believes that OpenTable may have sat more guests during the quarter, which he said could be due to slightly more marketing spending as well as an easier comparison with a year-ago period that included Superstorm Sandy.

In addition, May thinks OpenTable is entering a positive product cycle, having recently improved its mobile apps for consumers and rolling out its Guest Center — which is shifting its restaurant software to the cloud from on-site.

The analyst boosted OpenTable to "Neutral" from "Sell" and increased its price target to $74 from $68.

The San Francisco-based company's stock added $2.19, or 3 percent, to $75.25 in afternoon trading. The shares are up 43 percent over the past year.

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