NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Southwestern Energy Co. rose Monday after the stock was upgraded to "Outperform" by BMO Capital Markets, which said natural gas prices could rise temporarily before winter's end.
Shares of the Houston company gained $2.43, or 8.3 percent, to $31.86 in afternoon trading. Over the past 52 weeks, shares have traded between $28.37 and $49.25.
The stock of other natural gas producers also rose as Apache Corp. announced a $2.85 billion purchase of privately held Cordillera Energy Partners, and Chesapeake Energy Corp. said it would cut production by 8 percent.
Chesapeake produces about 9 percent of the nation's natural gas, and its announcement could signal a reversal of the large increase in production of recent years. Strong production and mild weather this winter have led to a glut of natural gas, sending the price of gas to a 10-year low last week.
Natural gas prices rose about 4 percent on Monday morning.
BMO said Southwestern will soon announce results from test wells in the Lower Smackover Brown Dense oil formation of southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana, which could push the stock higher.
It also said that with Southwestern's shares down about 30 percent since Nov. 1 — to a 12-month low for price-to-earnings ratio — investors could take a chance that the shares might rise based on "any potential, albeit temporary, recovery in domestic natural gas prices."