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McMoRan Exploration (NYSE:MMR) reported that it had encountered problems with its Davy Jones energy field, causing shares of Plains Exploration & Production Company (NYSE:PXP) to fall in respose. In an October Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Plains Exploration said that it had owned 51 million shares of McMoRan, comprising an interest of approximately 31.5 percent. Meanwhile, McMoRan Exploration shares are sliding for a second straight day after the company said Monday afternoon that it will have to inject a solvent into a well at its Davy Jones field so as to clean out perforations and obtain a measurable flow test. Capital One analyst Richard Tullis, in a note to investors earlier Tuesday, reacted to the news by reducing his price target on McMoran from $12 to $9, commenting that although McMoRan might eventually be able to conduct the flow test, it faces greater risk in light of Monday’s news, but the analyst maintained an Add rating on the stock. Oppositely, RBC Capital earlier Tuesday downgraded McMoRan from Outperform to Sector Perform, and JPMorgan remarked that the firm has zero equity value, given the uncertainty regarding the commercial viability of the Davy Jones field. In mid-morning trading, Plains Exploration fell 2.76% to $33.09. At the same time, Energy XXI Limited (NASDAQ:EXXI), which has a 15.8 percent interest in the Davy Jones field, slid 4.19 percent to $30.22. McMoRan shares closed down 15.23 percent on the day at $8.18, having been traded in a 52-week range of $7.76 to $16.57.
Neptune Technologies & Bioresources (NASDAQ:NEPT) reported that on November 9th, it filed a Notice of Opposition in Australia against Aker Biomarine ASA’s patent application no. AU2008291978 entitled “New Method for Making Krill Meal”. Neptune opposes the acceptance of Aker’s patent by the Australian Patent Office, since it has evidence that the invention claimed in the application is neither new nor inventive. The company will present clear disclosures in printed publications and patents, published years before Aker’s patent, that exhibit precisely what Aker claims in its patent application, and serves as strong prior art against Aker’s patent. Shares closed down 24.47 percent on the day at $2.50, and have traded in a 52-week range of $2.18 to $5.14.
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