) to strong buy.
Analyst Richard Eckert says he endorses New Century's decision to form a real estate investment trust. He believes there's considerable value to be unlocked in the company, and that the REIT structure could help it deliver that value to shareholders. Eckert thinks a REIT vehicle can help New Century to get off its origination and, perhaps, the GAAP earnings treadmill. A REIT will also insulate equity shareholders from the inherent volatility in the mortgage-banking business, and provide a compelling reason to own the shares regardless of conditions in fixed-income markets or the broader economy.
Eckert raised the $7.25 2004 earnings per share estimate to $8, and upped the $6 2005 estimate to $8. Finally, he raised the $59 target parice to $70.