NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of specialty chemicals and materials producer Rockwood Holdings Inc. have lost almost half their value in the last two months, but they jumped Wednesday following an upgrade from JPMorgan.THE SPARK: Analyst Silke Kueck raised her rating on the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral." Kueck cut her 2011 and 2012 profit estimates and reduced her price target to $42 from $65, but said the price of Rockwood shares is now reasonable. She wrote that the company's shares fell because investors were not sure how strong demand was, and because most of the company's sales are made in euros, which are weakening.THE BIG PICTURE: Kueck wrote that the company's profits should rise in 2012 even if the euro is weaker. She said growth in construction and electronics markets has probably slowed and sales may be decreasing, but the titanium oxide market is strong. The primarily market for Rockwood's titanium oxide is the synthetic fibers market, the analyst said, where it is used as a bleaching or whitening agent.Kueck now expects the Princeton, N.J., company to earn $3.80 per share this year, down from $4, and $4.20 per share in 2012, down from $4.70. On average, FactSet says analysts expect the company to earn $3.98 per share in 2011 and $4.50 per share in 2012.SHARE ACTION: The stock rose $2.75, or 8.2 percent, to $36.20 in afternoon trading. Rockwood reported its second-quarter results before the market opened on July 27, and its shares set an all-time high of $62.03 that day. The stock is down 46 percent from that price.
- Analyst Silke Kueck