Chesapeake Energy Jumps as Senate Reaches Debt Deal

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.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has raced more than 170 points higher today as a deal to avert a government default appeared to take shape in Washington. Everything from gold to oil followed the market higher as traders bought anything they could get their hands on.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) leads the majority of energy stocks higher, jumping 4.1% as of 3:25 p.m. EDT. Management announced a $70 million charge related to laying off about 900 employees, which will impact earnings from the third and fourth quarters. This is an effort by new CEO Doug Lawler to cut costs and refocus the company on profitability, something investors like to see.  

The other factor helping Chesapeake Energy today is a rise of about in both Brent and WTI crude-oil prices. Management is trying to move into more oil drilling after natural-gas prices plummeted and left Chesapeake Energy with a loss over the past year. Investors are buying into the change so far this year, and the stock is up 68% year to date. 

On the flip side of the energy industry, CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX  ) is down 2.2% today despite announcing better-than-expected natural-gas and coal production. Yesterday management revealed that CONSOL Energy produced 46.1 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas and 14.5 million tons of coal, above respective guidance of 43 Bcfe to 45 Bcfe and 13.4 million tons to 13.9 million tons.  

When a stock drops on higher-than-expected production, it's usually a good thing, but the natural-gas and coal markets are experiencing oversupply, so more supply isn't what's needed. There are also questions surrounding CONSOL Energy's future after management began to consider options like splitting up the business or selling off assets. Investors just aren't ready to buy these risky assets today despite increased production.  

Most energy stocks on the rise
The budget debate in Washington still has an impact on the energy markets, in large part because a default could send the country back into a recession. If a deal is finalized tonight, it will be a positive for the whole industry, and that's one reason oil is charging 1% higher today.

Look for that momentum to continue, because the global economy is demanding more oil for growth, which should benefit oil producers like Chesapeake Energy in the long term.

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