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Analyst comments push eSpeed higher

    eSpeed shares hustled up 9, or 15 percent, to 68 9/16 Thursday after Robertson Stephens initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" recommendation and set a 12-month price target of $90 a share.

    eSpeed (Nasdaq: ESPD) is a recently formed division of Cantor Fitzgerald LP that operates interactive, real-time electronic marketplaces.

    eSpeed got off to a good start in its December initial public offering. Its shares moved up to a high of 75 13/16 in February after slipping to a low of 30 in December.

    In a research note, analysts Justin Hughes and Jordan Hymowitz said "although eSpeed initially concentrated in the debt credit markets, the company is rapidly expanding into electronic marketplaces for energy, communications bandwidths and other illiquid or decentralized markets."

    First Call consensus expects it to lose 26 cents a share in its first quarter and 92 cents a share in the fiscal year.

    All three analysts covering the stock maintain a "buy" recommendation.