2 Energy Stocks Red-Hot After Midterm Results

Both NBL and WES were upgraded to "buy"

by Patrick Martin

Published on Nov 7, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Energy stocks are enjoying sector tailwinds thanks to the midterm elections, after Colorado voters rejected a ballot initiative to impose tougher drilling measures. The bill would have called for greater distances between drilling projects and public spaces, which would have severely impacted oil and gas development. Two individual names moving higher -- and experiencing heightened options activity in response -- are Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NBL) and Western Gas Partners LP (NYSE:WES).

NBL Set To Topple Key Trendline

Noble Energy was last seen 4.5% higher to trade at $28.17, after Raymond James upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "market perform." October was NBL's worst month since May 2010, with the shares shedding 20.3%, and hitting an annual low of $23.83 on Oct. 29. Thanks to today's pop, though, the shares are on track for their seventh straight win, and poised to close above their 20-day moving average for the first time in three weeks. 

Daily Stock Chart NBL

Options traders are flocking to calls today. At last check, almost 26,000 call options have traded, six times the average intraday amount and volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Most of the action is centered at the December 30 call, though it's not clear how traders are positioning themselves here. Taking a broader view, call open interest already stands at an annual high of 124,960 contracts.

WES Near Top Of NYSE Today

At last check, Western Gas stock was up 13% to trade at $46.34, on track for its best day ever and near the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In addition to sector tailwinds, BofA-Merrill Lynch upgraded the equity to "buy." Amid the recent broad-market sell-off, WES fell to a two-year low of $38.35 on Nov. 1. Now, the shares are on track to finish above their 50-day moving average for the first time since mid-September. Nevertheless, the equity is still trading below its year-to-date breakeven level. 

Daily Stock Chart WES

Calls are also hot in WES' options pits today, too. More than 3,900 calls have changed hand -- almost 10 times the average intraday amount, with volume in the 99th percentile of its annual range. Most popular by far is the November 45 call, though it's unclear if these options are being opened or closed. 


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