The investment rating of Delta Financial Corp. was raised to "buy" from "neutral" by a Piper Jaffray analyst after positive announcements by the home equity company.

Woodbury, N.Y.-based Delta should trade at $10 to $11 a share in 1999, said the analyst, Jeffrey Evanson. The company's stock price is now about $7.

Delta has tailored its loan production to achieve lower prepayment speeds, Mr. Evanson said, and its shares should be trading at just above book value.

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