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KeyBanc emphasizes 'BUY' rating for Goodyear stock -- Ludwig

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In the recently completed first quarter, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. topped Wall Street's earnings per share (EPS) estimate for the ninth consecutive quarter, according to Saul Ludwig, managing director of KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Partially as a result of its 1Q success, Goodyear received a "BUY" rating from KeyBanc.

"While there is always something to 'pick on' in any quarter, the facts are that Goodyear, overall, is tracking on plan and will deliver steady EPS progress throughout this year and next, in our opinion," says Ludwig.

"A reduction in our 2008 North American operating income estimate is made up by stronger International results."

Ludwig says that his full-year EPS estimate of $2.95 could have been higher, but Goodyear's decision to reduce domestic inventories by five million units "creates unabsorbed overhead negating the other pluses."

In addition to maintaining its 2008 EPS, KeyBanc is maintaining its full-year stock price target of $36. Goodyear's stock price on the New York Stock Exchange closed at $27.17 on Monday, April 28, 2008.

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