Oil futures have been trading higher over the past week, with a gain of over 4 percent for contracts scheduled for March 14 delivery. Natural gas prices, meanwhile, have gained even more than that in the same time-span, up over 7 percent mostly as a result of an unexpectedly harsh winter in the US that is likely to persist into the near-future. A look at the performance of companies in the independent oil & gas industry would seem to suggest that the producers with significant crude operations are the ones making the biggest gains. Indeed, all seven independents with a market-share of $300,000 or greater and whose shares have added over 10 percent during the last week of trading are companies with significant interest in either conventional oil plays, or shale plays that produce oil as well as natural gas, such as can be found in the Permian Basin , or in Texas' Eagle Ford shale play. The correlation between revenue derived from oil production and better stock performance is by no means a guarantee, but it is one that investors may want to look out for in 2014, as the natural gas market adjusts itself to a growing supply glut. EXCO Resources Inc. ( XCO ) Market-Cap: $1.2 billion Price: $5.47 Return (Week): +13.50 percent Goodrich Petroleum Corp. ($GDP) Market-Cap: $641.71 million Price: $17.47 Return (Week): +12.80 percent Ultra Petroleum Corp. ( UPL ) Market-Cap: $3.52 billion Price: $23.04 Return (Week): +12.25 percent Endeavour International Corporation ( END ) Market-Cap: $324.46 million Price: $6.90 Return (Week): +11.67 percent Panhandle Oil and Gas Inc. ( PHX ) Market-Cap: $338.71 million Price: $39.75 Return (Week): +10.80 percent Laredo Petroleum Holdings, Inc. ( LPI ) Market-Cap: $3.58 billion Price: $26.60 Return (Week): +10.30 percent Triangle Petroleum Corporation ( TPLM ) Market-Cap: $702.04 million Price: $8.88 Return (Week): +10.04 percent
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