AKRON (Jan. 23)—The price of a share of Goodyear stock closed Jan. 21 above $10 for the first time in more than a year following an analyst's upgrade pending the anticipated launch of a new tire line in February.
Goodyear's stock hit $10.74, up from $9.51 Jan. 20, after Saul Ludwig of McDonald Investments Inc. in Cleveland upgraded his evaluation of Goodyear to "hold" from "underweight." In his report, Ludwig said he made the adjustment because of recent positive indicators that have pushed the scales back to neutral.
Among those, the analyst cited improved dealer relations, improved market share of branded tires, a surging truck tire business, the possibility Goodyear will refinance its debt and the pending launch of a new high-end, all-season tire dubbed "Assurance."
"In our opinion, this is (Goodyear's) most important product launch in the last 10 years," he wrote. "We believe the Aquatred line will be phased out, and the Assurance will be its new, high-end tire for the consumer market."
Goodyear declined to comment on the tire in advance of its launch, saying only it always is working on new products. In a recent trade magazine advertisement, Goodyear touted the all-weather, all-road capabilities of the product. "In fact, on Feb. 6, 2004, it will be a new day for drivers everywhere," the ad said. "You have our assurance."