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How Is the Energy Sector Performing in 2018?

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Crude oil is trading sharply higher

In 2018, crude oil (USO) prices are up ~19% to $72.13 per barrel as of May 22 from their 2017 close of $60.42 per barrel. Crude oil prices have been rising since June 2017 and are up ~76% since then. Last week, crude oil made a 52-week high of $72.24 per barrel.

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Natural gas is slightly lower

Year-to-date in 2018, natural gas (UNG) prices are leading the decline in energy commodities. Natural gas prices decreased from their last year’s close of $2.95 per MMBtu (million British thermal units) on December 29 to $2.91 per MMBtu on May 22, 2018, a decrease of ~2% so far.

Energy equities moving up

With the mixed performance from crude oil and natural gas, the energy sector is up in 2018. As of May 22, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE), which represents an index of stocks across the energy sector, rose ~8%. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP), which represents an index of stocks across the energy industry, rose ~16% in 2018. XOP has ~78% exposure to the oil and gas exploration and production industry.

The First Trust Natural Gas ETF (FCG) is up ~2% in 2018. FCG represents an index of energy stocks that derive a substantial portion of their revenues from the exploration and production of natural gas.

In this series

Having analyzed the year-to-date performance of the broader energy sector in 2018, we’ll now look at the best-performing stocks from the oil and gas production—or upstream—sector in the US for 2018.

To compile the list of best performers in 2018 from the upstream space, we have used only oil and gas producers with market capitalizations of greater than $500 million and 30-day average trading volumes greater than 1,000,000 shares.

We’ll also analyze earnings and other developments behind the moves in these stocks. In the next article, we’ll look at the best-performing stock in 2018 from the upstream sector.

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