AP News

JPMorgan upgrades Marathon Oil, cites Eagle Ford

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Marathon Oil Corp. rose Friday after a JPMorgan analyst upgraded the Houston energy company, citing increasing production from "unconventional" resources like the Eagle Ford basin.

THE SPARK: JPMorgan analyst Katherine Lucas Minyard raised her rating to "Overweight" from "Neutral." She increased her price target on the shares by $5 to $35.

THE BIG PICTURE: Marathon has benefited from production of oil and natural gas liquids in shale formations such as the Eagle Ford region that stretches from western Texas to Louisiana.

In the third quarter, Marathon's production in the Texas Eagle Ford region nearly doubled from the second quarter. In the Bakken shale region of North Dakota, Marathon's production rose about 11 percent in the July-through-September quarter.

THE ANALYSIS: Minyard said the production gains increase confidence in longer-term growth.

She added that the company's shares don't reflect the price she believes the company could get from a potential sale of its oil sands mining operations.

THE SHARES: Shares of Marathon rose 53 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $30.39 in afternoon trading. The price has ranged from $23.17 to $35.49 in the past 52 weeks.

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