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: Shares of shale oil driller Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL) dropped as much as 10% today after the company said it would seek a sale of assets.
So what: Investors have been speculating on whether Whiting would try to sell assets or look for a buyer for the entire company. And today reports are that asset sales are more likely. Reuters is reporting that JPMorgan has been shopping the entire company to potential buyers but they're scared off by $5.6 billion in debt. The alternative is asset sales that could ease the debt load and maintain the upside for shareholders if oil prices improve.
Now what: There's a lot of speculation in oil markets today and that's what's driving Whiting Petroleum's stock. It also doesn't help that oil is down more than 4% today to near $45 per barrel, making most shale oil plays in the U.S. unprofitable. Whiting is a risky bet on oil's recovery and one that could pay off long-term, but the risks are too high today for me to jump in because I think there's more downside risk than upside potential for oil in the next year.