Stifel downgrades Southwestern Energy after rally

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Stifel Nicolaus analyst downgraded Southwestern Energy Co. to "Hold" on Tuesday, saying that a recent rally in the shares has left them fairly valued and not a bargain.

THE OPINION: Analyst Amir Arif said the shares were trading at 7.8 times estimated 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. That's more than peer companies and fully reflects the outlook for production growth, he said.

Arif also wrote in a note to clients that a new gas play by the company will be more complicated than expected, "and therefore, we do not believe investors will miss much by selling at current levels." The shares might be a better deal once the current cool weather passes, the analyst said.

THE SHARES: Down 29 cents to $37.48 in midday trading. Over the past year the stock has ranged from $25.63 last June to $39.35 earlier this month. That's higher than the analyst's target of $36.