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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery lost $1.87 to $55.23 on the New York Merc, while Brent for October lost $1.82 to $59.48 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.25 to WTI, down from a discount of $12.40. Natural gas for September lost one cent to $2.14. The TSX energy index lost 4.34 points to close at 121.97.
Alberta Cardium producer Obsidian Energy Ltd. (OBE) stayed unchanged at $1.66 on 200,600 shares, after releasing its second quarter financials. These were quite a bit better than analysts had expected. Production averaged 27,835 barrels of oil equivalent a day, above analysts' predictions of 27,000 barrels a day, and cash flow came to 56 cents a share, above analysts' predictions of 48 cents a share. Interim president and chief executive officer Mike Faust patted Obsidian on the back for the "significant progress on our top priorities." The first priority he mentioned was to improve the balance sheet. Given that Obsidian's net debt rose to $478-million as of June 30 from $408-million a year earlier -- against a current market cap of $121-million -- the need for improvement is clear. The "significant progress" referred to by Mr. Faust was related to (among other things) a deal that Obsidian struck in May to sell some of its non-core heavy oil assets to Highwood Oil Company Ltd. (HOCL: $22.00) for about $97-million. This deal was originally supposed to close in July. In a separate announcement yesterday, Obsidian pushed the closing date out to the end of August.
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