Williams Capital Group L.P. analyst Wendy Appiah initiated coverage of Charter Communications Inc. last week with a "buy" rating and a 12-month price target of $18.50. Although Charter took a beating after long-time CEO Jerald Kent's resignation Sept. 24, Appiah said in a research note that she found the drop-off excessive. With a new CEO — Charter on Oct. 9 hired industry veteran Carl Vogel to replace Kent — and a renewed focus on high-end advanced services, Appiah expects Charter to meet year-end targets for digital and high-speed data customers. Appiah estimates revenue will grow 15 percent (to $3.7 billion) and cash flow will rise 14 percent, to $1.7 billion. She added that Charter should end 2001 with 6.44 million total subscribers, 2.15 million digital subscribers and 644,000 data customers.