NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Helmerich & Payne  (HP - Get Report) are rising 0.58% to $66.01 in pre-market trading on Tuesday following a ratings upgrade to "overweight" from "sector weight" at KeyBanc in a note released earlier today.

The firm has an $80 price target on shares of the oil and gas contract driller.

"We believe HP is the best-positioned land drilling contractor ahead of an upturn in U.S. land rig activity," KeyBanc wrote.

The company owns about 50% of the 1,500 horsepower AC-Drive land rigs that are currently idle, the firm said, adding that these will "likely be the rigs of choice as the market recovers."

"HP's superior fleet quality is complemented by the strongest balance sheet in the industry," KeyBanc noted.

Within the next few years, Helmerich & Payne should supply about half of incremental demand for horizontal drilling services, which will further solidify its market leadership, the firm contended.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "hold" with a ratings score of C.

Helmerich & Payne's strengths such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins are countered by weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and weak operating cash flow.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: HP

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author.