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Ahead of the Bell: Actuant

NEW YORK (AP) -- An analyst on Monday recommended investors buy up shares of Actuant Corp. citing a recent decline that's made them a better value.

KeyBanc Capital Markets Jeffrey D. Hammond lifted his rating on the industrial product maker's stock to "Buy" from "Hold." The stock has fallen 17 percent since a late September high, the analyst said, more than double the decline in the broader S&P 500.

Hammond believes the stock's decline has taken out some risks for investors, and he also expects growth in two of Actuant's most important markets: industrial and energy. Combined, they account for about half of total sales and 70 percent of operating profit.

The analyst also suggested the company will continue to improve because of its shift toward growth markets and focus on products that allow for higher margins.

He put a $34 price target on the stock, which indicates a potential 30 percent increase.

Shares of Actuant closed Friday at $26.15. They've ranged between $20.05 and $31.33 in the past year.