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Lindsay rises on demand for irrigation systems

NEW YORK -- Shares of Lindsay Corp. reached their highest point in more than a year on Thursday after the irrigation system maker said its fourth-quarter net income surged on higher demand from farmers.

THE SPARK: Lindsay reported Wednesday that its net income rose 48 percent. Revenue climbed 10 percent and topped analysts' expectations. Irrigation equipment revenue climbed 18 percent, as domestic irrigation revenue increased 18 percent. International irrigation revenue rose 19 percent.

The Omaha, Neb. company also said it expects the recent passage of a federal highway bill, along with its own cost cuts, to help improve sales and profitability at its infrastructure business in fiscal 2013.

THE ANALYSIS: William Blair's Brian Drab said in a client note that irrigation sales still have momentum partly because of drought conditions in North America and Europe, higher agricultural commodity prices and strong demand in overseas markets like Brazil.

The analyst boosted Lindsay's rating to "Outperform" from "Market Perform."

Nathan Jones of Stifel Nicolaus said that U.S. and international demand for irrigation systems remains strong.

"We believe high crop prices and drought conditions will help prolong the current irrigation spend cycle through 2013," he wrote.

Jones maintained a "Hold" rating.

SHARE ACTION: Lindsay's stock climbed $3.97, or 5.6 percent, to $75.12 in midday trading. The shares touched $75.45 earlier, which is their highest level since April 2011.