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Upgrades push Dell to new 52-week high

Dell shares hustled up 4 3/16, or 8 percent, to a 52-week high of 55 7/16 Monday after a pack of analysts upgraded the stock and revised their 12-month price targets.

Bear Sterns analyst Andrew Neff boosted it from an "attractive" rating to "buy" and upped his price target from $55 to $65 a share to $70 to $80 a share.

Neff justified his upgrade based on "a strengthening corporate market, more favorable component pricing and availability and Dell's increasing ability to capture the growth of the Internet."

Banc of America analyst Kurt King raised Dell from a "buy" to a "strong buy" and boosted his price target from $52 to $72 a share.

"With estimates lower and the current quarter looking solid, Dell looks ready to get back on its old path of consistently meeting or beating estimates and periodically generating estimate increases," King said in a research report.

Robertson Stephens also upgraded the stock from a "buy" to a "strong buy" recommendation.

In its fourth quarter, Dell met analysts' lowered estimates after it warned that a shortage of chips and components would dampen its total sales.

In the quarter, it earned $436 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $6.8 billion.

First Call consensus expects it to pocket 16 cents a share in the first quarter of fiscal 2001 and 90 cents a share in the fiscal year.

Thirty-two of the 35 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

Its shares fell to a 52-week low of 31 3/8 in June.