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Colorado companies ride a rising tide of oil prices higher

Petroleum producers were the state's top performers in second quarter


The biggest quarterly jump in oil prices in three decades helped shares of several Colorado companies double and even triple in value during the second quarter from depressed levels.

Buoyed by support from the Federal Reserve and the reopening of the economy, most Colorado shares joined the larger U.S. markets, rising sharply in late March, April, May and June after cratering in February and March.

But the move in domestic oil prices from single-digit levels in April to just shy of $40 a barrel on Tuesday gave energy companies an extra push.

The Bloomberg Colorado index, a price-weighted basket of 59 stocks headquartered in the state, rose by nearly a third during the second quarter, which beat out the 17.8% rise in the Dow Jones industrial average, the 19.95% gain in the S&P 500 and even the 30.6% gain in the Nasdaq composite.

For the first half of the year, the Bloomberg Colorado index is down 4.9%, while the Dow is off 9.5%, the S&P 500 is off 4.04%. The big winners remain technology stocks, with the Nasdaq up 12.1%.

Although the reopening of the economy was behind some of the rebound in the second quarter, the bigger driver appears to be the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented purchases of government, mortgage and corporate debt.

Abundant fiscal stimulus domestically and oil production cuts globally also helped. A rebound in oil prices made shares of several Colorado petroleum companies top performers during the quarter. They included QEP Resources, up 285.6%; Antero Resources, up 256.3% Ovintiv, up 253.7%; Centennial Resources, up 238.4%; SM Energy up 207.4%, and DCP Midstream, up 177.6%.

But not every energy company reversed course.  Hallador Energy shares were the state’s worst performer during the second quarter, dropping nearly 31%. Other big losers in the up quarter included Advanced Emissions Solutions, off 26.2%; Pure Cycle, down 17.6%; Brickell Biotech, down 16% and Echostar Corp., down 12.5%.

The online travel booking company Liberty TripAdvisor’s A shares, the ones most commonly traded, rebounded 18.3% during the quarter, but remain down 71% this year, not surprising given the ongoing limitations on leisure travel due to the outbreak.

But the company’s B shares, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, went haywire. They went from $4.75 on April 14 to $59 by April 16. By June 14, they were back down to $20 a share, only to triple six days later to $63 a share.

The moves were so extreme that the company’s executives issued a statement saying they had no role in the volatility.

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