Gulfport Energy shares fall on downgrade

December 7, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of independent oil and gas producer Gulfport Energy Corp. fell on Friday after an analyst downgrade, saying the stock has been on a good run but has gotten ahead of itself.

THE SPARK: Stifel Nicolaus analyst Amir Arif had upgraded the company over the summer, based on the first results from drilling in the Utica Shale natural gas reserves in Ohio.

But its shares, which traded below $16 in late June, have more than doubled. It's now fairly valued, Arif wrote, and is actually trading at levels higher than some of its peers. He downgraded it to "Hold" from "Buy."

THE BIG PICTURE: Arif wrote that he still believes the company's prospects are good. But the company has already logged seven good well results and issued guidance for 2013 production growth of 142 percent, so "we feel that in the near-term a lot of the good news is in the stock and therefore see little near-term upside potential," Arif wrote.

SHARE ACTION: Down 60 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $37.49, after falling as low as $36 earlier in the day. They're near the top of a 52-week range of $15.79 over the summer and $38.72, set on Monday.