U.S. stock markets are climbing today on the back of reasonably good economic data. Markit's reading of manufacturing confidence, known as a manufacturing purchasing managers' index, fell to 51.5 in October from 52.8 in September, but a reading above 50 still indicates economic growth. Jobless claims also fell 12,000 to 350,000 last week, within the range they've hovered in for most of the year. Investors took this data as a sign that the shutdown hasn't affected the economy too negatively, and have bid up the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) 0.68% late in trading.
One part of the market helping job growth and economic production in the U.S. is shale oil production, which has been a boon to states like North Dakota. Recent data out of dominant players Kodiak Oil & Gas (UNKNOWN:KOG.DL), Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL), and Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) shows that growth in oil and natural-gas production in North Dakota continues to rise after explosive growth over the past decade.
Kodiak Oil & Gas announced earlier this week that third-quarter production reached 35,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 54% from just a quarter ago. Over the first nine months of the year, the company's production has been up 105%, hitting 7.3 million BOE.
Whiting Petrolium announced last night that third-quarter revenue jumped 57% to $831 million, and net income more than doubled to $204.1 million on a 12% increase in production. Another 39,310 acres in the Bakken shale purchased in August will expand the company's exposure there.
Continental Resources is leveraging the Bakken play as part of its effort to triple production and proved reserves from 2012 to 2017. The company will report third-quarter figures on Nov. 6, but it already said it expects to increase production by 26% to 32% in 2014.
All three companies are leveraging the Bakken play, and their stocks are climbing today in part because of the constant stream of news from the region. North Dakota is a sudden energy hotspot, and these three companies are some of the best ways to play it.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.