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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery added 60 cents to $71.64 on the New York Merc, while Brent for August added 43 cents to $73.51 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.88 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for July lost three cents to $3.22. The TSX energy index lost 1.45 points to close at 134.67.
On a slow news day, the happiest headlines in the oil patch came from the Riddell family's Paramount Resources Ltd. (POU), up 48 cents to $14.24 on 1.51 million shares. The Alberta Montney and Duvernay producer gave investors three bits of good news heading into the weekend. Most prominently, Paramount is introducing a dividend. Its planned two-cent monthly payout represents a yield of 1.7 per cent.
Given Paramount's 134 million shares outstanding, the dividend will cost $32.3-million a year -- or rather just $16.1-million this year, as 2021 is half over. Both figures are well within Paramount's forecast free cash flow this year of $155-million. The company said as recently as May that it would use this free cash flow to reduce its $760-million net debt. It has very much changed its mind. In addition to the dividend, Paramount is launching a share buyback program, under which it can repurchase up to 7.3 million shares, representing 10 per cent of its public float of 73 million.
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