HOUSTON, Texas (


) -- Shares of

Noble Energy

(NBL) - Get Report

jumped Monday following an analyst upgrade of its stock.

BMO Capital analyst Dan McSpirit upgraded Noble Energy's shares to outperform, from market perform. The analyst had an $85 price target on Noble Energy's stock.

The offshore driller's shares gained 2% to close at $68.57.

Noble Energy recently swung to a second-quarter profit

of $204 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $57 million, or 33 cents per share. Revenue jumped 53% to $751 million.

Results easily topped analysts' consensus call for earnings of 77 cents per share on revenue of $743.5 million.

The company narrowed it capital expenditures for 2010 to $2.2 billion, from $2.5 billion, mostly related to the federal deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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