U.S. Markets closed

Flir Systems shares rise on growth predictions

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Flir Systems Inc. rose Tuesday on optimism that the company's commercial business is poised for growth.

THE SPARK: Raymond James analyst Brian Gesuale boosted his rating for Flir to "Strong Buy" from "Market Perform," predicting that the company's overall sales volumes could double by 2015.

THE BIG PICTURE: Wilsonville, Ore.-based Flir makes imaging and surveillance systems used for everything from border control to explosives detection.

Like other companies that serve the defense industry, Flir's sales have been affected by government budget cuts this year.

THE ANALYSIS: Gesuale, who also set a $33 price target, said Flir's government unit is small and stable enough that it shouldn't slow the company's growing commercial business.

The analyst said he expects the company's automotive sales should grow through the years, boosted by new business from Mercedes, while the integration of Flir's components into Digimerge security cameras should to begin to boost unit sales later this year.

Next year, Flir's detectors are set to be used in even more products and the company also could get a boost from replacement demand from the traffic market, he said.

THE SHARES: Up $1.44, or 6 percent, to $26.39 in morning trading after peaking at $26.74 earlier in the session. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $17.99 and $27.16.

Over the past year, Flir shares have risen about 25 percent.