Shares of ConocoPhillips surged 7.5% toward a six-week high in premarket trade Thursday, after the oil and gas company's deal to sell some oil sands assets for over $13 billion fueled upbeat comments from Wall Street analysts. Cowen & Co. analyst Charles Robertson said that some investors were skeptical of ConocoPhillips plan announced in November to sell $3 billion to $5 billion worth of assets and buy back $3 billion worth of stock, but this "unexpected big deal" accomplished its plan in less than a year. "We believe this transaction will be viewed positively as it reflects [ConocoPhillips'] commitment to shareholder returns and debt reduction," Robertson wrote in a research note. Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov said with the world's largest exploration-and-production deal in two years, "Conoco is certainly making a splash, single-handedly exceeding the high end of its asset sale range." He said he believes "the market should reward the company with a higher multiple." The stock had dropped 8.4% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF had lost 6.9% and the S&P 500 had gained 5.5%.
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