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Actionable news in EMES: EMERGE ENERGY SERVICES LP,

Why Sand Is the Oil Industry’s Bellwether

Analysts taking the pulse of the energy market need to dig deep. All manner of indicators from rig counts to supertanker rates and refinery utilization are analyzed to gauge the direction of crude’s price, which still is less than half what it was two years ago. Last week, the world’s two largest oil-field-services companies, Schlumberger SLB -0.89 % and Halliburton, HAL -0.74 % both suggested that the market had bottomed.

But, if a turning point is indeed at hand, it may have been companies in the business of digging holes around America that offered the earliest clue. Four publicly traded miners of sand have seen their share prices rally by an average of 320% from their 52-week lows. The largest, U.S. Silica Holdings, SLCA -1.84 % announced last Monday that it was buying an unlisted competitor operating...


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