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Itron shares finish day almost 13 percent up

Shares of Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc. jumped nearly 13 percent in trading Tuesday after a government office announced expanded limits on federal grants for utility smart-grid technology.

Shares jumped $6.42 in regular trading, to $56.42.

The U.S. Energy Department raised the maximum grant for smart grid projects to $200 million from $20 million on Monday, a move RBC Capital Markets analyst Stuart Bush said will likely cause utilities to speed projects.

Itron makes a variety of smart-grid devices, including advanced meters for electric utilities.

Bush said DOE’s new standards for judging bids from utilities will help Itron in competing for future projects. “We believe Itron is the best-positioned public company to benefit,” Bush told clients in a note. Bush rated Itron as “outperform” and raised his price target to $62 from $59.

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