Natural gas has long been a staple resource used in heating, cooking, and electricity production. More recently, it has begun to figure more prominently in industrial applications and even as a fuel source for automobiles. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that about 23 million vehicles worldwide are powered by natural gas.
While natural gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel, it remains highly popular in the United States even as consumers shift to renewable fuel sources. In 2020, natural gas represented 34% of U.S. energy consumption.
The price of natural gas, as measured by the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index, has increased by 38.0% in the past year. By comparison, a benchmark exchange-traded fund (ETF)—the First Trust Natural Gas ETF (FCG)—has provided a one-year trailing total return of 82.1%. Part of the discrepancy between these two benchmarks in 2021 is that natural gas prices spiked in October and November before falling precipitously in December. Both benchmarks are well above the Russell 1000’s one-year trailing total return of 23.6%. These figures and all data below are as of Dec. 17, 2021.
Here are the top three natural gas stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum. As mentioned earlier, these companies are not pure play natural gas names, but they focus more than half of their production (or, in the case of midstream companies, throughput) on natural gas.
These are the natural gas stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. For companies in early stages of development or industries suffering from major shocks, this can be substituted as a rough measure of a business’s value. A business with higher sales could eventually produce more profit when it achieves, or returns to, profitability. The P/S ratio shows how much you’re paying for the stock for each dollar of sales generated.
|Best Value Natural Gas Stocks|
|Price ($)||Market Capitalization (Market Cap) ($B)||12-Month Trailing P/S Ratio|
|DCP Midstream L.P. (DCP)||25.46||5.3||0.6|
|Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN)||4.51||4.6||0.7|
|Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK)||60.76||7.1||0.9|
- DCP Midstream L.P.: DCP Midstream is a midstream energy company that transports, trades, markets, and stores natural gas liquids and related products. The company also gathers, compresses, treats, and processes natural gas. For the third quarter (Q3) of 2021, ended Sept. 30, 2021, DCP Midstream’s net income attributable to partners plunged by more than half year over year (YOY). The profit decline was driven by weak results in two company segments: Logistics and Marketing, and Gathering and Processing.
- Southwestern Energy Co.: Southwestern Energy is an independent energy company. The company explores and produces natural gas, oil, and related products with a focus on Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
- Chesapeake Energy Corp.: Chesapeake Energy is an independent exploration and production company engaged in acquiring, exploring, and developing properties producing oil, natural gas, and related products. The company’s operations are primarily within Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming. On Nov. 30, 2021, Chesapeake Energy announced the appointment of Mohit Singh as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), effective Dec. 6, 2021. Singh was previously a member of the executive leadership team of BPX Energy.
These are the natural gas stocks with the highest YOY sales growth for the most recent quarter. Rising sales can help investors identify companies that are able to grow revenue through organic or new ways, as well as find growing companies that have not yet reached profitability. In addition, earnings per share (EPS) can be significantly influenced by accounting factors that may not reflect the overall strength of the business. However, sales growth also can be potentially misleading about the strength of a business, because growing sales on money-losing businesses can be harmful if the company has no plan to reach profitability.
|Fastest-Growing Natural Gas Stocks|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||Revenue Growth (%)|
|Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN)||4.51||4.6||203.2|
|Comstock Resources Inc. (CRK)||8.56||2.0||187.2|
|CNX Resources Corp. (CNX)||13.92||2.9||181.7|
- Southwestern Energy Co.: See company description above.
- Comstock Resources Inc.: Comstock Resources is an independent natural gas producer. The company’s operations are primarily located in Louisiana and Texas. For Q3 2021, ended Sept. 30, 2021, Comstock reported adjusted net income available to common stockholders of $90.6 million compared with net loss in the prior-year quarter. Comstock’s natural gas sales nearly tripled YOY, and production increased by 25%.
- CNX Resources Corp.: CNX Resources is an oil and natural gas company engaged in the exploration, development, production, and acquisition of natural gas properties in the Appalachian Basin. The company’s operations are primarily in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
These are the natural gas stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months. Companies with total returns over 2,500% were excluded as outliers.
|Natural Gas Stocks with the Most Momentum|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)|
|Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK)||60.76||7.1||423.2|
|Antero Resources Corp. (AR)||17.11||5.4||230.9|
|Range Resources Corp. (RRC)||18.21||4.7||159.8|
|S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index||N/A||N/A||38.0|
|First Trust Natural Gas ETF (FCG)||N/A||N/A||82.1|
- Chesapeake Energy Corp.: See company description above.
- Antero Resources Corp.: Antero Resources is an oil and natural gas company that explores, develops, and acquires natural gas, natural gas liquids, and oil properties. The company primarily operates in West Virginia and Ohio. For Q3 2021, ended Sept. 30, 2021, Antero Resources reported adjusted net income rose fivefold from Q3 2020 as revenue grew by 40.4% YOY.
- Range Resources Corp.: Range Resources is an independent natural gas, natural gas liquids, and oil company. The company is engaged in the exploration and production of natural gas, crude oil, and related products, primarily in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.
The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or adopt any investment strategy. Though we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described in our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.
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Chesapeake Energy, Investors. “Chesapeake Energy Corporation Appoints Mohit Singh Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.” Accessed Dec. 19, 2021.
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