Continental Resources Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of oil and natural gas exploration company Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) are gushing higher by 10% today following an update on the company's fourth-quarter output.

So what: The fourth quarter was kind to Continental. The company saw its production rate increase by 57% to 75,219 barrels of oil equivalent per day. It also increased its proven reserves by 39% to 508 million barrels of oil based on results from drilling in the Bakken shale region (of which it is the largest petroleum leaseholder) and in the Anadarko Woodford region in Oklahoma. The company also noted that it would hold off on drilling natural gas wells in the Bakken Shale region until at least 2014 because of the low price currently associated with the fuel. Continental's positive outlook also resulted in Standard & Poor's raising the company's debt level one notch to BB+.

Now what: The past week has been like a Continental buffet (pardon my terrible pun, but I couldn't resist). First, President Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline measure which squarely puts companies like Continental back in the production spotlight. Then today we have news that production rates are skyrocketing and reserves continue to tick higher. Perhaps the best, and most commonly overlooked, factor about Continental is that its CEO, Harold Hamm, owns 68% of all outstanding shares. CEOs that have a vested interest in their stock historically tend to do better by their shareholders. Needless to say, things are looking great for Continental moving forward.

Craving more input? Start by adding Continental Resources to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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