Oil prices were on the move this week as fear rose that the events in Cyprus would damage the European economy. For the week, Brent crude was down 1.14% to $107.66 and WTI crude was up 1.5% to $93.71. U.S. natural gas was up 1% to $3.93.
This week's best two energy stocks
This week's energy-stocks leader was Nordic American Tankers (NYSE: NAT), up 18.2% to $11.15. While the stock had a one-month gain of 24.2%, it's down 27% over the past 12 months. On Wednesday, the company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire a double-hull Suezmax tanker, its 21st ship, for $55 million. Shipping tanker companies were hammered the past five years as high rates caused a boom in shipbuilding, leading to a massive oversupply and a precipitous decline in dayrates. While Nordic American still continues to post losses, the company is in a good position if rates rebound, and Wednesday's acquisition shows that management is confident in the future.
Second among oil and gas stocks today was Abraxas Petroleum, up 11.7% to $3.11. The exploration and production company reported 2012 earnings and an operational update last Friday. While the fourth-quarter results were mixed, CEO Bob Watson reiterated management's guidance for 2013: "Strong production volumes in February and early March, along with incremental well performance and the efficiency gains in the Eagle Ford, give us confidence in our 2013 guidance of 4,900-5,200 boepd on a $70 million capex budget."
This week's worst energy stock
The worst performer on the week was Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE: HNR), down 34.5% to $3.71. On Tuesday, Harvest filed with the SEC a notice that it will file its annual report late because of certain errors in its financial statements and said it will have to "revise and possibly restate its financial statements for certain periods in 2010, 2011, and 2012." The company also said it expects a net loss of approximately $9.6 million, or $0.26 per diluted share. Scariest of all, the company announced that when it does file its annual report, "our auditors have informed us that their opinion will include a going concern qualification." In layman's terms, the auditors are going to include a warning that the company is not in a condition to continue operating for the following year. While Harvest Natural Resources has significant assets, with everything going on in Venezu