Antero Resources Heats Up as Eastern European Scene Cools

Michael Teague  |

Appalachian natural gas driller Antero Resources (AR) has proven itself to be the premiere pure Utica/Marcellus shale play in the roughly five months of its existence, a fact that was evident yet again throughout Tuesday’s trading session.

Indeed, shares for the horizontal driller broke through to a new all-time high, adding over 5 percent to reach $64.71 a piece and on nearly double average volume before paring back slightly to $63.51 ahead of the closing bell, and this despite the conspicuous absence of any discernible catalyst that would nudge the stock closer to its current analyst price target range of $65-$67.

The company’s Tuesday performance coincided with US markets shrugging off weeks of tense uncertainty in the run up to a secession referendum that took place over the weekend in Ukraine’s Eastern region of Crimea. Subsequent to the 97 percent vote tally that saw Crimeans decisively opting to join their much larger Eastern neighbor, it has taken no more than two days to demonstrate just how helpless Western powers are to do anything but slap cosmetic sanctions on a handful of Russian and Ukrainian officials who were deemed responsible for developments on Russia’s Southwestern border in 2014.

Investors apparently found all the reassurance they needed that a Cold War style East-West conflagration had been both avoided in the present, and likely precluded for the foreseeable future, even if this means that their own leaders had to endure a torrent of ruthless mockery from their Russian counterparts, who took to Twitter (TWTR) with great relish after sanctions were announced.

Even in a worst-case scenario however, for instance if the conflict in Ukraine became severe enough to disrupt deliveries of natural gas from Russia to Western Europe, Antero would likely benefit from higher natgas futures prices.

The company is also still riding the on the momentum from the impressive earnings report it released at the end of February that testified to substantial increases in production, net income, margins, and reserves among other metrics. Since its IPO at $52 per share in October of last year, the company has been lurching its way upward rather confidently, and it can also likely benefit from the surge in exploration and drilling activity that is projected to unfold over the coming year. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources figures that north of 700 new wells will be be drilled in the current year alone.

In the waning minutes of Tuesday trading, Antero Resources had added 3.91 percent to $63.42 per.

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