On Dec 24, Zacks Investment Research upgraded natural gas
Ultra Petroleum Corporation
) to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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Why the Upgrade?
Ultra Petroleum controls substantial acreage in and around the
prolific Jonah natural gas field and the Pinedale Anticline area
in the Green River Basin. Both these areas are replete with rich
natural gas reserves which are largely untapped to date. The
company has also amassed a large acreage in the prolific
Marcellus Shale play - a key natural gas drilling area.
Ultra Petroleum's production growth over the last few years
highlights its attractive asset base. Moreover, the company
maintains a competitive cost structure that acts in its favor.
The company belongs to the neutral group from a Zacks Industry
Rank perspective (to learn more visit:
About Zacks Industry Rank
). However, it looks pretty good on an individual basis with
decent short-term momentum and solid positive shift in estimates
in the past two months. In the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate for the fourth quarter has moved up 3 cents (or 7.1%) to
45 cents per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the full
year has also moved up 4 cents (or 2.5%) to $1.66 per share, with
8 estimates moving higher for UPL against just 3 going lower, in
the same time frame. The stock has also started to move
higher lately, adding 6.8% over the past four weeks.
Moreover, the company consistently beat the Zacks Consensus
Estimate for the past three quarters, with the most recent
quarter reporting an 8.8% positive surprise. Ultra Petroleum had
reported third quarter earnings of 37 cents per share, beating
the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents, primarily on account of
a significant reduction in operating expenses.
Other Stocks that Warrant a Look
In addition to Ultra Petroleum, one can also consider other
exploration and production stocks such as
Harvest Natural Resources Inc.
Penn Virginia Corporation
Clayton Williams Energy, Inc.
). All these stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).