) to neutral from buy.
Analyst Robert Ashcroft says he's downgrading ExpressJet to neutral as it recently exceeded his $17 one-year target. He says ExpressJet shares rose despite headwind from a pension-plan sale. He notes ExpressJet's Continental Airlines (CAL
) pension plan has sold over two million ExpressJet shares since Sep. 9. An additional Continental-induced sale of the company's stock is likly, Ashcroft says, now that ExpressJet is finally trading consistently over its IPO price.
Ashcroft maintains the $1.80 2003 earnings per share and $2.11 2004 earnings per share estimates, along with the $17 target.