Crude oil holding the upside
Year-to-date in 2018, crude oil (USO) prices are up ~1.6% from their year-end 2017 close of $60.42 per barrel to $61.36 per barrel. Crude oil prices have been rising since June 2017 and are up by ~46% since then. In January 2018, crude oil hit a three-year high of $66.66 per barrel.
Natural gas leading to the downside
Year-to-date, natural gas (UNG) prices are leading the decline in energy commodities. Natural gas prices decreased from last year’s close of $2.95 per MMBtu (million British thermal units) on December 29, 2017, to $2.78 per MMBtu—a decrease of almost 6% so far.
With the mixed performance of crude oil (USO) and natural gas (UNG), the energy sector is trading down in 2018. Year-to-date, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE)—which represents an index of stocks across the energy sector, fell ~5%. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) represents an index of stocks across the energy industry and has ~79.3% exposure to the Oil and Gas Exploration & Production industry. It has decreased ~6% in 2018. The First Trust Natural gas ETF (FCG) is down ~7% in 2018.
In this series
Having analyzed the year-to-date performance of the broader energy sector in 2018, we’ll now look at the best- and worst-performing stocks from the US oil and gas production, or upstream, sector for 2018.
To compile the list of best and worst performers in 2018 from the upstream space, we used oil and gas producers with market capitalizations greater than $500 million and 30-day average trading volume greater than 1 million shares.
We’ll also analyze earnings and any developments behind the moves in these stocks. Let’s start with the best-performing stock in 2018 from the upstream sector in the next part of this series.