Shares of ExxonMobil Corp. hit an all-time high Monday after a Goldman Sachs analyst raised his investment rating and price target grade on its stock, citing possible growth of its oil and gas production business.

The spark: Analyst Arjun Murti upgraded Exxon's stock rating to a "Buy" from "Neutral." He also raised the 12-month price target to $109 per share from $96. 

The background: Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas, makes most of its profit from producing oil and natural gas. In October, the company said that oil and gas production rose slightly in its third quarter after falling for nine straight quarters before that.

Analysis: Besides a possible increase in oil and gas production, Murti said that Exxon's stock makes a good buy because it is well-positioned against a possible drop in global oil prices. "ExxonMobil tends to be one of the most defensive investments in the event oil prices decline," Murti said in a note to clients.

A representative from Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Share action: Up $2.44, or 2.6%, to $97.76 in afternoon trading Monday. Earlier, Exxon's shares hit what FactSet says was an all-time high of $98.88.


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