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Cabot sees 2014 production growth of up to 50 pct

HOUSTON (AP) -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. said Thursday it is looking for production growth of 30 to 50 percent in 2014.

The drilling company maintained its forecast for 44 percent to 54 percent production growth this year.

Cabot CEO Dan Dinges said in a statement the company's output has been impacted by its decision hold back production periodically because of weakness in Marcellus spot market pricing and some infrastructure maintenance projects. But he said that Cabot does not expect that having an impact on this year's production growth or in the future.

The Marcellus Shale is a rock bed that lies about 6,000 feet beneath parts of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Jack Ayid of KeyBanc Capital Markets said Thursday he's expecting Cabot to post 41 percent production growth for 2014. The analyst noted the growth will hinge on natural gas pricing and the availability of infrastructure, but said his target is possible given that Cabot will have seven rigs in the Marcellus Shale.

Ayid maintained a "Buy" rating for Cabot's stock and a $45 price target.

Cabot's 2014 outlook topped the estimate of Robert Morris of Citi Investment Research, who on Thursday raised his forecast to 36 percent growth from 26 percent.

Morris is anticipating an about 52 percent increase in Cabot's 2013 production. The analyst reaffirmed a "Buy" rating and $40 price target.

Shares of Cabot, which is based in Houston, climbed $1.23, or 3.5 percent, to $36.80 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $21.07 to $40.34 and is up about 48 percent so far this year.