Shares of Antero Resources (NYSE: AR) continued selling off in April, tumbling 16.9% for the month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. That came on the heels of another double-digit sell-off in February and a more than 50% plunge in 2018. The natural gas driller, however, did have some good news in early May as it reported solid first-quarter results.
Shares of Antero Resources came under renewed selling pressure in April after some negative commentary by an analyst at Cowen. The research firm initiated coverage on Antero's stock, giving it a "market perform" rating and setting an $11 price target (though that is more than 50% above the current share price). Cowen noted that Antero is a higher-cost gas producer that relies too heavily on firm transportation contracts on pipelines to move its gas to premium markets. On top of that, Cowen worries that the company will experience problems when its higher-priced natural gas hedges expire at the end of this year.
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On a more positive note, Antero Resources reported good first-quarter results shortly after April ended. While the gas driller's earnings matched expectations, the company delivered a 44% surge in higher-margin liquids output during the quarter. That helped it generate free cash flow, which it combined with the proceeds of its midstream consolidation transaction to pay down debt.
Shares of Antero continue to sell off due to weak natural gas prices. However, several LNG export facilities are currently under construction and could help boost prices as they come on line. The company noted that if natural gas averages $3.15 (up from the current level of around $2.60) and oil stays around $65, it could generate between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in cumulative free cash flow by 2023. That's a significant amount of money for a company that currently has a market value below $2.5 billion, suggesting substantial upside potential if commodity prices improve.
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