) to strong buy.
Analyst Reed Anderson says he upgraded the shares from outperform based on strong second-quarter results, and an improved outlook. He thinks the results mark an important inflection point for Staples, as they provide further solid evidence that the company's operational and strategic initiatives are positively impacting sales and profitability. He believes these strong results, combined a with gradually improving business climate, should set the stage for considerable appreciation of Staples' shares.
Anderson raised the $1.05 fiscal 2004 (ending January) earnings per share estimate to $1.09, and upped the $1.23 fiscal 2005 earnings per share estimate to $1.27. He has a $27 price target.