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Diamondback Closes Share Issue

Zacks Equity Research

Midland, TX-based Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG) has announced the closure of its previously declared underwritten public offering of 4,000,000 common shares priced at $40.25 a piece, with a 30-day over-allotment option for an additional 600,000 shares.

The energy explorer plans to use the proceeds from this offering – approximately $154.3 million after the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses – to finance its previously declared acquisition of additional Permian Basin acreage. Any remaining amount may be utilized towards capital expenditures associated with exploration and development projects, and for general corporate purposes.

Diamondback, which went public in October of last year, is an independent exploration and production company engaged in the acquisition, finding and development of unconventional onshore oil and gas properties. The company’s operations are concentrated primarily in the Permian Basin of West Texas.

Having done a stellar job at raising production and reserves from its assets, analysts are predicting strong earnings growth for Diamondback over the next couple of years. The 2013 Zacks Consensus Estimate is $1.31, representing 118% earnings per share growth over 2012. Next year’s average forecast is $2.40, corresponding with 84% growth.    

However, shares of Diamondback – currently trading at $40.12 – have already climbed more than 100% since its public debut at around $17 in Oct. Therefore, any upside from here may be limited.

As a result, Diamondback currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Meanwhile, one can look at Range Resources Corp. (RRC), Clayton Williams Energy Inc. (CWEI) and Matador Resources Co. (MTDR) as good buying opportunities. These domestic upstream energy operators – sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) – have solid secular growth stories with potential to rise significantly from current levels.

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