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Enough top-performing CAPS members have turned bullish on ATP Oil and Gas (NASDAQ:ATPG) recently to upgrade it from the four-star rank it has held for months to a tip-top five stars. A total of 512 members have given their opinion on ATP Oil and Gas, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

Unlike energy peers Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) or XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO), ATP Oil and Gas eliminates exploration risk by exploiting proved undeveloped reserves, which it purchases from other companies. ATP focuses only on offshore opportunities. The significant drop in oil and gas prices that punished many big players such as Chevron (NYSE:CVX), BP (NYSE:BP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) in the first quarter also gouged ATP. Revenue dropped 70%, to just over $68 million; production also dropped dramatically, due in part to ATP's sale of 80% of its Wenlock and Tors assets.

While earning power was a mere shadow of its former self, ATP remained profitable, and it expects to maintain compliance with its financial covenants throughout 2009. ATP is also looking to monetize more assets to reduce debt and improve liquidity. The company paid down some long-term debt in March and will reduce it further in May, thanks in part to money raised from a partnership with GE Energy Financial Services. And many CAPS members see a potentially large upside to the company as energy prices rise.

To see what the very best CAPS analysts are saying now about ATP Oil and Gas -- as well as other winning stocks they are picking -- head on over to CAPS and have a look. The community research and resources in CAPS are totally free, unlike analyst opinions reserved for paying clients.

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Fool contributorDave Mockupgraded the reward for his 2-year-old's good behavior to include gummy treats -- and he now anticipates significant progress. He owns shares of Exxon Mobil. Chesapeake Energy is anInside Valueselection. Contrary to inaccurate reports in the media, the Fool'sdisclosure policyis not a Lakers fan.