) to strong buy from buy.
Analyst Michael O'Brien says that while chip inventories for flat panels could be in oversupply, he believes production has been constrained. He thinks Photon is seeing strong demand for its flat panel production test equipment. O'Brien believes Korean manufacturers have been the most aggressive at going to Gen 5 panel production; however, he thinks Taiwan is now gearing up, and Japan could show upside. The analyst says his checks indicate order growth in the 20%-30% range on average for at least the next two quarters - driven by surprises out of Korea, and early ramp-ups from Taiwan.
O'Brien narrowed his $0.20 fiscal 2002 (ending September) loss estimate to $0.04 per share, and raised his $1.00 fiscal 2003 EPS forecast to $1.36. He has a $50 price target on the shares.