) to strong buy from buy.
Analyst James Parker says he believes Ryanair's share price, which declined 15% from $34.20 on Mar. 5, could appreciate 28% to $37 over the next 12 months based on 25 times his $1.49 calendar 2003 EPS estimate. He notes Ryanair and the other two leading European low-fare airlines, easyJet and Go, are showing unusually high load factors even during seasonally slow months such as February. He says although airfares remain soft, Ryanair's very strong passenger volume should more than counterbalance weak airfares. He notes the company is the only low-fare European airline whose shares trade in the U.S.