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Ahead of the Bell: Owens Corning

NEW YORK (AP) -- KeyBanc Capital Markets upgraded Owens Corning, foreseeing accelerated profit growth from all three of the company's divisions this year.

Analyst Kenneth Zener, who also set a $51 price target for the stock, said he expects Corning's insulation business to get a boost from better volumes and prices, noting that insulation prices rose about 5 percent during the first quarter. That, he said, could mark the turning point for a recovery.

A rebound for U.S. real estate combined with higher prices for building materials should boost insulation profitability significantly from year-ago levels, Zener said.

The company's roofing business should also benefit from recent price increases that Zener said are likely to stick, while its composites business will benefit from easy comparisons to previous quarters, cost initiatives and possibly better prices in the second half of the year, he said.

Keybanc upgraded the company's stock to "Buy," from "Hold."

Shares edged higher in premarket trading by 8 cents, to $43.70, just shy of the all-time high of $43.88, reached in February this year.