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: California Resources Corp. (NYSE:CRC) stock jumped as much as 11% in early trading on Friday, before settling closer to a 10% gain as of 12:15 p.m. EST. The recent spinoff of Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:OXY) reported its first quarterly results as an independent company after the market close yesterday. The stock had fallen as much as 56% from the post-spinoff peak, to the low in late January:
So what: It looks like the market is pleased with the overall results, despite a whopping $2.1 billion net loss in the quarter. However, that net loss was largely due to the drop in oil prices forcing the company to take a noncash impairment on the value of its oil reserves, and not any actual cash loss. The company did incur losses related to terminating rig contracts and some spinoff items, but the overall result wasn't really bad, especially considering the current oil market.
Now what: The company operated as many as 27 drilling rigs in November, but has moved swiftly to cut drilling activity, with only three rigs in operation today. Management said the California-only operator would keep oil production flat in 2015, and that it "would be able to live within our cash flows and will use this period of reduced activity to grow our inventory of available future projects. ... In the meantime, our low-decline and predictable asset base is capable of generating significant and sufficient cash flow in the current commodity price environment."
It appears the market is responding to that statement as much as anything. Going forward, the company seems well positioned to weather the current oil price environment, as well as to take advantage of strategic opportunities once oil prices recover, but investors should remember that it only operates within California, which means a potentially tighter regulatory environment and fewer ways to grow over time.