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BB&T maintains Buy (1) rating for Cooper

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BB&T Capital Markets says it is maintaining its Buy (1) rating for Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. "We think the initiatives in place to reduce Cooper's cost structure... should drive sustained earnings growth over the next few years," say BB&T officials.

Growth will come "despite the near term headwinds of escalating raw material prices and soft end user demand."

However, BB&T has decided to lower its 12-month price target for Cooper to $22 from $24 "based upon a target P/E multiple of 12.9 times our EPS estimate of $1.70.

"We believe risks to the achievement of our price target include volatile raw material prices that could hurt profitability, increases in the price of gasoline (which could adversely impact miles driven and therefore, revenue), and the company failing to execute its cost-saving and profit-driving iniatives."

Cooper's stock opened today, March 25, at $17.81.

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