Yet another round of political drama has been injected into the oil industry -- how will prices be affected?
Iran's state media reports a native nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran bomb blast. It is described as a third assassination targeting the nation's atomic program that the U.S. and Israel have vowed to halt, says Bloomberg.
The target was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a director at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan province.
"Tehran Deputy-Governor Safar-Ali Bratlou told the state-run agency that a magnetic device was placed under Roshan's car by a person on a motorcycle. He said the method was similar to previous attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists and blamed Israel for the killing."
Iranian officials have already threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, an important transit route at the mouth of the Persian Gulf for about a fifth of the world's oil.
If the strait were to close it would cut off significant oil supplies and force shippers to take longer routes, causing prices to rise. "It also potentially opens the door for a military confrontation that would further rattle global oil markets," adds the Associated Press.
Iran would be able to close off the straight with relative ease. With tensions already high, the assassination of its nuclear scientist makes the threat even more probable than before.
Fuel supplies climbed in January, causing a decline in U.S. crude and fuel prices. Wednesday's attack, and the correlating threats to oil supply, could potentially bring prices back up.
Business section: Investing ideas
Any conflict with Iran has the potential to move oil prices significantly higher.
So we were wondering, which oil companies have been boosted by bullish sentiment?
To create this list, we started with a universe of about 190 oil companies.
To refine the list, we collected data on institutional transactions, and identified the names that have seen significant inflows during the current quarter.
And to further refine the list, we collected data on short-seller trends and identified the names that have seen a significant decrease in shares shorted during the current month (i.e., short-sellers think the upside of these stocks outweighs the downside).
Sophisticated investors, like hedge fund managers and short-sellers, think these oil stocks are going higher -- do you agree?
List sorted by market cap. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)
2. EXCO Resources
3. Forest Oil
4. Quicksilver Resources
5. Approach Resources: Engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties in the United States. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 3.3M shares, which represents about 13.24% of the company's float of 24.92M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 5.59M to 5.28M over the last month, a decrease which represents about 1.24% of the company's float of 24.92M shares.
Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA. Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity. Short data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.