Holy Leaping E&Ps!

It's not every day that shares of multiple exploration and production companies are up by double-digit percentages. Sure, it helps to have Goldman Sachs calling for a $200-a-barrel superspike, but plenty of companies are trading up on their own merits. I figured I'd bring you a roundup of today's biggest gainers, just to get an idea of the fundamentals at work in the space.

First up is Comstock Resources (NYSE: CRK  ) , a formerly sleepy E&P that now sports a market cap of about $2.5 billion. Comstock has had an extremely rewarding relationship with Bois d'Arc Energy (NYSE: BDE  ) , a top Gulf of Mexico shelf explorer which recently agreed to merge with Stone Energy (NYSE: SGY  ) . That said, it's impossible to let the offshore offspring take all the credit here. Comstock's performance on land is also stellar.

In the first quarter, onshore production lifted 44%, a staggering figure. Operating cash flow, before balance sheet changes, sizzled 70% higher. The company's drilling campaign continues to deliver, with a 97% success rate in the quarter. And with a foothold in Chesapeake Energy's (NYSE: CHK  ) Haynesville shale play, Comstock may have more fireworks in store.

Speaking of fireworks, check out Canadian Superior Energy (AMEX: SNG  ) . The company, which is in the process of drilling a series of high-impact wells off the shores of Trinidad and Tobago, announced no news today. You have to chalk up this particular rise to rumor, speculation, and innuendo. Ditto for Evolution Petroleum (AMEX: EPM  ) .

The same can't be said for Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC  ) , another E&P cracking a fresh 52-week high. The company reported fierce earnings results today, doubling earnings from the prior year. Natural gas prices are 25% higher, and crude oil realizations that are 71% higher will do that. The production boost of 8% over last year didn't hurt, either. Cimarex may have left our Inside Value scorecard recently, but it's still clearly treasured by many.

Related Foolishness:

  • With all this drilling, these folks aren't feeling any pressure.
  • There's no reason to be sheepish about these drillers, either.
  • In offshore drilling, it's all about the dynasty.

Chesapeake remains an Inside Value recommendation. Stick a straw in any of our newsletters free for 30 days. Go ahead, drink our milkshake.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Cimarex is a former Inside Value recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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