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10 oil stocks jumped at least 7% today

Investors sense a good value even as oil prices continue to slide

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Brent crude has slumped 24% this year.

It’s bottom-feeding time for oil stocks, although caution is in order: We may not yet be at an actual bottom for oil prices.

The worst-performing S&P Composite 1500 subsector this year has been Oil & Gas Drilling, down 22% through Tuesday, according to FactSet. The Oil & Gas Equipment and Services sector hasn’t fared much better, with a drop of 17%.

Oil prices have been hit especially hard recently, with Brent crude oil for November delivery down 2% Wednesday to $84.03 a barrel just after 4 p.m. Eastern time. Brent crude has slumped 24% this year.

Investors are seeing value after some oil stocks plunged 50% or more this year. Here are the 10 S&P 1500 stocks in the Oil & Gas production and Oilfield Services/Equipment subsectors that rose 7% or more Wednesday:

Oil winners today
CompanyTickerPrice gain - Oct. 15Total return - YTD through Oct. 14Total return - 3 yearsPrice/ 2015 EPS estimate
Swift Energy Co.SFY,+20.87%21%-47%-74%38.4
Synergy Resources Corp.SYRG,+12.13%12%-6%196%23.4
Northern Oil & Gas Inc.NOG,+10.22%10%-34%-52%9.8
Rex Energy Corp.REXX,+10.01%10%-59%-41%13.7
Southwestern Energy Corp.SWN,+7.82%8%-16%-15%14.0
GulfMark Offshore Inc. Class AGLF,+7.77%8%-39%-32%8.8
Stone Energy Corp.SGY,+7.23%7%-35%5%27.3
Basic Energy Services Inc.BAS,+7.12%7%-23%-35%21.6
Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc.CRZO,+6.61%7%-8%64%15.3
Geospace Technologies Corp.GEOS,+6.53%7%-71%-18%8.9
Closing stock prices for Oct. 15 subject to revision. Source: FactSet

We have included forward price-to-earnings ratios. However, the consensus 2015 earnings estimates are likely to be adjusted downward over coming days. The S&P 1500 trades for 14.3 times consensus 2015 EPS estimates. This group of oil stocks tends to trade at very high forward P/Es, reflecting growth of domestic oil production as well as for rapid revenue gains.

But not everyone thinks we’re close to a bottom in oil stocks.

Sterne Agee analyst Tim Rezvan minced no words Tuesday when referring to enthusiastic advice by others to load up on oil exploration and production stocks as “idiot wind.”

“Ignore the Street, [and] avoid speculative bottom-fishing now,” Rezvan wrote in a note to clients. He was among several analysts cutting earnings estimates for oil stocks this week.

“We believe more short-term pain is in store, and would be wary of aggressively adding to positions here in front of a third-quarter earnings season that will provide little clarity on 2015 spending and production growth outlook,” Rezvan said.

By

PHILIP VAN DOORN

INVESTING COLUMNIST