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HOUSTON, Texas (


) -- Shares of

Noble Energy

(NBL) - Get Noble Energy, Inc. 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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Miriam Reimer

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