Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

These 3 Energy Stocks Trounced the Market Today

By Dan Dzombak - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:44PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

These stocks were up while the Dow was down.

Markets and energy prices were on the move today as fear rose over the economy after a weaker-than-expected private-sector jobs report. At 5:00 pm ET on Wednesday, the VIX (^VIX 0.20%) was up 11.19%, Brent crude was down 3.04% to $107.32, and WTI crude was down 2.71% to $94.53. U.S. natural gas was down 1.61% to $3.90.

Today's energy-stock leaders
Among U.S. companies with market caps greater than $500 million, today's energy-stocks leader was Magnum Hunter Resources (NYSE: MHR), up 3.15% to $3.93. Magnum was up more than 10% this morning, after the company announced an asset sale of its Eagle Ford Shale assets to Penn Virginia (NYSE: PVA) for $401 million. The assets include 19,000 net acres with 49 producing wells, seven wells drilled, and four currently being drilled. For March, the average daily production was 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Magnum plans on using the cash from the sale to pay down debt, which as of Sept. 30 stood at $680 million. The company is late in reporting its annual result for the year ended Dec. 31, after it identified material weaknesses in its internal controls. Investors should be wary of investing in a company that's late in filing.

Second among energy stocks today was Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) up 2.42% to $5.08, while in third was Peabody Energy (BTU), up 1.15% to $20.15. Coal stocks been crushed as environmental regulations pushed up the price of running coal plants and cheap natural gas provided an easy and cheaper alternative for power producers. Natural gas has taken significant market share in the U.S. power markets, and coal demand and prices have fallen as a result.

Weaker companies haven't survived, with Patriot Coal, for one, going into bankruptcy. The company was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007 and has been weighed down by $1.6 billion in retiree health benefits. As part of the spinoff, Peabody agreed to cover certain health-care costs for former Peabody employees. Patriot is suing Peabody to make sure that Peabody "does not attempt to use Patriot's bankruptcy to escape Peabody's own health care obligations to certain retirees." Peabody argues that if Patriot's obligations are lessened; then its own obligations are also lessened. Yesterday, Patriot asked the bankruptcy court to cap life insurance benefits and health-care coverage for its retirees. The company has 4,000 employees and 8,100 retirees.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index Stock Quote
CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index
$29.49 (0.20%) $0.06
Peabody Energy Corporation Stock Quote
Peabody Energy Corporation

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/23/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.