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Electronic retailer Harvey Norman takes a shine to Top brokers

Harvey Norman shares

rose 5.35 percent to A$3.94 at the 4:10 p.m. market close in Sydney, their highest level since May 2008. The stock, which has gained 49 percent this year, rose the most in 20 years on Friday after posting earnings that beat analyst estimates.

Broker ratings on Harvey Norman

The stock was also raised to the equivalent of “buy” at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG. Analysts at Citigroup Inc. raised their rating to “hold” from “sell.”

The government has distributed more than A$12 billion ($10 billion) in cash to households since December while grants to home owners and borrowing costs at a half-century low are increasing home-building approvals at the fastest pace in four years.

Gerry Harvey says

HARVEY Norman shares surged yesterday to their highest level in a year after executive chairman Gerry Harvey triggered a wave of retail confidence with his claim the economy "is growing stronger and stronger each day".

Profit from Australian franchises, where the company gets three-quarters of revenue, has risen as government cash handouts stoked demand for flat-panel televisions and notebook computers and helped the nation avoid a recession. Chairman Gerry Harvey said a pick-up in sales that started in April has extended into the first two months of this fiscal year.

Mr Harvey said July and August sales had improved. More customers were buying electrical goods, bedding and furniture, an indication that the government's first-home owners stimulus packages had encouraged more people to purchase homewares, he said.

The company will pay a fully franked final dividend of 6c a share, taking its full-year dividend to 11c and Mr Harvey will pocket $34m in dividends for the year. Harvey Norman has 264 retail outlets across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe trading under the Harvey Norman, Domayne, Joyce Mayne and Norman Ross brands.

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