Analyst Upgrade May Boost Lee

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Shares of Lee Enterprises Inc. may rise Wednesday, as an analyst upgraded the newspaper owner on optimism that it will outperform other newspaper groups.

Deutsche Bank analyst David Clark upgraded the company’s rating to “Buy” from “Hold” and also boosted his price target by $7 to $36.

“Our view is that Lee will easily outperform the newspaper peer group in 2007 due to their small market profile, superior operating expertise, circulation that is much stronger than the industry … and benefits from the HotJobs deal,” he wrote in a client note. Clark also views Lee’s real estate advertising revenue this year as relatively steady, in contrast to expected declines in such revenues for other newspaper owners.

Clark also sees Lee successfully implementing its aggressive sales culture at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which it bought in 2005 as part of its Pulitzer Inc. deal.

“Continued solid results there should allay any lingering investor concerns about the acquisition integration,” Clark said.

Lee’s shares closed at $30.23 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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