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.
What: American independent oil and natural gas producer Ultra Petroleum (NASDAQ:UPL) stock was up 13% as of this writing, joining many other oil and gas companies riding the 6% jump in crude oil prices today. So far this week, the company's stock has climbed 29%, though it remains down almost 50% from highs in April 2014:
So what: There's a lot of good news out there today, with oil prices up, and many of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting better-than-expected earnings so far. It looks like Mr. Market is betting on oil prices continuing to rise on the back of a stronger economy, and the effects of oil producers cutting production as the year goes on.
Now what: While that is good news, it's important to remember that it's just general news, and not specific to Ultra Petroleum. Furthermore, Ultra Petroleum is more about natural gas than oil, though it is growing its oil production. Natural gas prices are actually down today, to $2.63, and some industry experts think they could fall further on strong supplies, even as we enter the heart of winter.
Ultra is one of the lowest-cost natural gas producers, and also has an active hedging program to reduce the impact of oil and gas volatility, but it continues to operate in a challenging environment. Looking for more? Ultra Petroleum reports earnings on Feb. 19. Tune in here for more analysis then.