Analyst upgrades MarineMax stock

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MarineMax stock was upgraded to buy from hold by Rochdale Securities.

"Cost-cutting, together with a stabilizing marine market, should enable [MarineMax] to march toward profitability in FY 2010," senior equity research analyst Hayley Wolff wrote in her report. "This compares with a consensus that is calling for a dramatic loss."

While discounting to move non-current inventory pressured margins this fiscal year, pricing should firm up, with inventory levels down and aging improving, Wolff said.

"Margins on current inventory have held up. We expect gross margins to improve in 2010," she said in her report.

"We are not pronouncing that the marine market is on the rise, but [MarineMax] has taken steps to move toward profitability and is positioned to gain share when we emerge from this deep downturn," Wolff added.

MarineMax is still in the process of closing stores, she noted. "We expect store count to settle out at 55 to 60, down from 65 at the end of the prior quarter."

In early morning trading, MarineMax stock was selling at $7.17 per share, down from its close of $7.41 Monday. Its 52-week high and low are $8.79 and $1.19.

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