Whirlpool shares hit new high after upgrade

NEW YORK -- Whirlpool shares hit a new high Wednesday, a day after the appliance maker's stock jumped to the highest level in more than two years.

THE SPARK: Goldman Sachs analyst Joshua Pollard raised his rating on Whirlpool to "Buy" from "Sell" and nearly doubled his six-month price target on the shares, raising it to $110 from $57.

THE ANALYSIS: The analyst said in a client note that by concentrating on growing North American margins _ even at the cost of market share _ Whirlpool has managed to make material gains in operating profit year-over-year.

The company has also managed to get some one-time charges out of the way and completed a majority of its restructuring moves this year, giving it the opportunity to make its free cash flow stronger, he said.

THE BACKGROUND: On Tuesday Whirlpool Corp.'s stock touched $94.34, the highest level since July 2010. The shares closed at $93.81. The rise was prompted in part by third-quarter adjusted profit that beat Wall Street's expectations. The company, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., also lifted its forecast for full-year adjusted earnings.

SHARE ACTION: Whirlpool shares rose $2.70 or, 2.9 percent, to $96.51 in midday trading. Earlier in the session, the stock hit $97.96. The stock has nearly doubled in price since the beginning of the year.