) to sector perform from underperform, after the company recently posted 32 cents vs. 66 cents first quarter earnings per share.
Analyst John Novak noted that excluding $5.3 million (6 cents) of tax benefit from a change in Ohio tax laws, the fully diluted earnings per share were 26 cents vs. his 27 cents estimate. The analyst says the earnings per share were negatively impacted by weak demand for sheet products and reduced metal spreads. Given expectations of reversal in inventory holding losses in the second quarter, the analyst raised his 32 cents second quarter fully diluted earnings per share estimate to 49 cents. He also raised his $1.27 fiscal year 2006 (ending May) fully diluted earnings per share estimate to $1.47, and his $1.39 fiscal year 2007 estimate to $1.72. He raised his $15.50 target to $20.00, reflecting 11.75 times his fiscal year 2007 fully diluted earnings per share estimate.