Kasikorn Securities upgraded Esso (Thailand) Pcl, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp, to 'outperform' from 'neutral' with a maintained target price of 13.60 baht ($0.43), citing an improving outlook of the refiner.
"We believe that two of Esso's three share-price drivers have bottomed and will improve over the next 12 months. They are stability in crude oil prices and the global GDP outlook. Asian refining margins remains challenged and represents headwind," it said in a report.
At the midsession break of 0530 GMT, Esso shares were up 2.5 percent at 10.2 baht, outperforming a 0.8 percent gain of the broader market.
Esso shares had dropped around 30 percent from their March high amid concerns that falling crude oil prices would lead to large inventory losses and weak earnings for the second quarter. Kasikorn said it expected better operating rates by the refiner.
"Further to its 2011 Euro IV fuel standard upgrade, Esso management has guided for improved operating rates ... Following Exxon's recent divestment of Esso Malaysia, regional demand is expected to support Esso Thailand's operation rates," it said.
1329 (0629 GMT)