By Houston Business Journal

Shares of Gulf driller Hercules Offshore Inc. fell more than 9 percent Friday, reflecting a rig-leasing slowdown and analysts' downgrades.

Houston-based Hercules (NASDAQ: HERO) fell 36 cents per share to $3.26 per share in mid-day trading after closing at $3.62 the previous day.

During the past 12 months, Hercules share price has dropped more than 25 percent. The company specializes in shallow-water drilling and marine services for the energy industry.

Hercules, along with Houston-based Seahawk Drilling Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) own some 68 percent of shallow water rigs in the gulf, but more than 60 percent are unleased.

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