Equity Brief: Ratings Changes for December 7th: MIND, MMR, MPC, MPEL, MPLX, MT, MUR, NS

A number of stocks were upgraded and downgraded by equities research analysts today, as reported by Analyst Ratings Network (http://bit.ly/equitybriefdaily) and Equity Brief:

Johnson Rice downgraded shares of Mitcham Industries, Inc. (MIND) from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating.

Ladenburg Thalmann downgraded shares of McMoRan Expl (MMR) from a buy rating to a neutral rating.

Capital One downgraded shares of McMoRan Expl (MMR) from an add rating to a neutral rating.

JPMorgan Chase initiated coverage on shares of Marathon Petroleum (MPC). They issued a neutral rating on the stock and set a $62.00 price target.

JPMorgan Chase upgraded shares of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (MPEL) from a neutral rating to an overweight rating. JPMorgan Chase now has a $20.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $14.00.

JPMorgan Chase initiated coverage on shares of MPLX LP (MPLX). They issued an overweight rating on the stock. They wrote, "With a deep drop-down inventory, complemented by organic growth opportunities, we believe Marathon Petroleum (MPC) has created a best in class growth MLP with MPLX. Moreover, long-term contracts with substantial minimum volume commitments and no direct commodity price exposure underpin ~73% of MPLX 2013e revenues. Although MPLX`s appreciation since the IPO lowers the upfront yield, we believe that MPLX`s substantial growth prospects offer attractive total return potential for long-term investors."

Zacks reiterated its underperform rating on shares of ArcelorMittal ADR (MT). They have a $15.00 price target on the stock.

Zacks reiterated its neutral rating on shares of Murphy Oil Corp (MUR). They have a $59.00 price target on the stock. Zacks` analyst wrote, "Murphy Oil Corporation reported mixed results in third-quarter 2012, with revenue surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while earnings fell short of it. Murphy`s results were negatively impacted by lower North American natural gas sales prices. In addition, weaker U.S. retail marketing margins and an after tax loss from foreign exchange transactions added to the woes. As a consequence, both quarterly earnings and revenue fell short of the company`s year-ago numbers. The company`s positive value drivers are, significant progress in offshore drilling activities in Kurdistan and Eagle Ford Shale, natural gas discoveries in Malaysia and Brunei, and completion at the Three Forks zone of Southern Alberta may fuel its future performance. However, unstable oil prices, and uncertainty associated with drilling results will challenge the company`s forthcoming financial results. Hence, we retain our Neutral recommendation on the stock."

Zacks downgraded shares of NuStar Energy L.P. (NS) to an underperform rating.

Raymond James reiterated its outperform rating on shares of NetApp Inc. (NTAP). They have a $35.00 price target on the stock.

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