NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/19/12 -- Oil and gas stocks have stagnated over the last month as a less than favorable demand outlook for crude weakens investor optimism in the exploration industry. Meanwhile, record low natural gas prices continue to hurt margins for natural gas explorers. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) is up less than 0.5 percent over the last month -- underperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average by a large margin over that time span. Five Star Equities examines investing opportunities in the Oil & Gas Sector and provides equity research on Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
Earlier this month the IEA maintained a forecast for moderate oil demand growth this year, saying that subdued economic activity and high prices would restrain upward pressure on consumption. While noting the international economic sanctions taken against Iran, the IEA said that "more prosaic ongoing tightening in the supply/demand balance" had helped to raise prices by 20 percent since December.
Late last week Oil prices stagnated amid trader concerns that growing U.S. crude supplies reflect weak demand. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration crude inventories rose 1.8 million barrels for the week ended March 11, 2012.
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In the Natural Gas segment, a recent Bloomberg News National Poll found that the U.S. public favors greater regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that has reduced prices for consumers while raising environmental concerns. President Barack Obama has already said his administration would "take every possible action" to see that gas fracking is done without putting the public's health or safety at risk.
Fracking has allowed the U.S. to produce so much gas that the government may approve an export terminal after warning four years ago of a need to boost imports.
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