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Gartner shares rise as analyst sets 'Buy' rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Gartner Inc. rose Wednesday after a Janney Capital Markets analyst started covering the technology research firm with a positive rating.

THE SPARK: Analyst Joseph Foresi set a "Buy" rating on Gartner shares, saying rapid changes in information technology are creating more demand for Gartner's research. He said Gartner's research business has about a 30 percent share in the IT research market, and has a strong reputation. He said the company is winning more business because of changes like the growing use of mobile devices and remote storage known as cloud computing.

Foresi added that Gartner's 2013 outlook seems conservative and the company could beat expectations this year. He set a price target of $62 per share.

THE BIG PICTURE: Gartner tracks a wide range of technology and makes money selling research, advice and staging industry events. The company said its net income grew 21 percent to $165.9 million, or $1.73 per share, in 2012. Revenue rose 10 percent to $1.62 billion. That included growth of 12 percent in the research business, which brought in $1.14 billion in revenue for the year.

Gartner expects to report net income of $2 to $2.14 per share excluding some one-time items, and it is forecasting revenue of $1.78 billion to $1.82 billion in 2013. It expects growth of 13 percent to 14 percent in the research business.

Analysts expect earnings of $2.06 per share on $1.8 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company's guidance for 2013 assumes the global economy will be about the same as it was last year and the company's sales operations will be as productive as they were in 2012. Foresi said Gartner's sales efforts became more productive at the end of 2012 and may perform better this year.

SHARE ACTION: Gartner shares rose $3.19, or 5.9 percent, to $57.45 in afternoon trading Wednesday after rising to an all-time high of $57.61 earlier in the day. The stock is up 17.9 percent in 2013.