Story updated at 9:50 a.m. to reflect market activity.
Transocean gained 0.8% to $39.77 in morning trading.
The firm set a price target of $45 for the offshore drilling company. The upgrade is a value call, as the sector has underperformed for so long.
"The offshore drilling group has underperformed for most of 2013 and into this year as the market downturn has weighed on the group as supply growth continues at a rapid clip," analysts Mike Urban and Jason Bandel wrote. "We are upgrading RIG to a HOLD rating from SELL as its backlog remains strong, the stock feels like its technically over-sold and it has some potential near-term catalysts with self-help initiatives and improved return to shareholders/ progress on an MLP. That said, the backdrop remains challenging and we still expect new build rates and the jackup market to roll lower later this year which is likely to temper any enthusiasm."
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates TRANSOCEAN LTD as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate TRANSOCEAN LTD (RIG) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."