Oil Stocks Outlook: Is Most of the Bad News Priced In?

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Has all the bad news already been priced into oil? Is there reasonable chance of a rebound in oil stocks in the near future? According to CNBC, it's possible:

"Oil prices languished near three-week lows on Tuesday, as worries about Europe's debt crisis fueled fears about the demand outlook for oil. But one analyst believes oil prices are headed higher, with markets already pricing in the worst case for the global economy."

Although it is best to "never say never," there doesn't appear to be much more bad news that can be priced in. The global financial crisis, European debt, and unrest in Libya have all been accounted for. And after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, some predict that Libya will be producing at prewar levels within 15 months.

John Licata, chief commodity strategist at U.S.-based research consultancy Blue Phoenix, reported to CNBC, "We've been talking about Greece defaulting for so long, I feel like this is just another opportunity to knock the price of crude oil down, and I think that right now, if anything, any dip should be bought."

Assuming Licata is right and the point of capitulation is under way, we were wondering: Which oil stocks are expected to see a significant rebound over the coming weeks?

For ideas, we collected short-seller data and identified a list of oil stocks that have seen a significant decrease in shares shorted over the past month.

In other words, short sellers seem to think the upside potential of these stocks outweigh the downsides. That's why they are closing their short positions, i.e. scaling back on bearish bets.

Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. (Get access to free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Ultra Petroleum (NYS: UPL) : Engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and operation of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. Shares shorted have decreased from 10.03 million to 6.32 million over the past month, a drop that represents about 2.48% of the company's float of 149.56 million shares.

2. Comstock Resources (NYS: CRK) : Engages in the acquisition, development, production, and exploration of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. Shares shorted have decreased from 9.25 million to 8.74 million over the past month, a drop that represents about 1.14% of the company's float of 44.65 million shares.

3. Lone Pine Resources Common (NYS: LPR) : Engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories of Canada. Shares shorted have decreased from 1.23 million to 478.14 thousand over the last month, a drop that represents about 5.02% of the company's float of 14.99 million shares.

4. GMX Resources (NAS: GMXR) : Operates as an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company primarily in the United States. Shares shorted have decreased from 7.29 million to 6.11 million over the last month, a drop that represents about 2.24% of the company's float of 52.69 million shares.

5. CAMAC Energy (NYS: CAK) : Engages in the exploration and production of oil and gas. Shares shorted have decreased from 4.68 million to 4.06 million over the past month, a drop that represents about 1.07% of the company's float of 58.09 million shares.

Interactive chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the past two years for the stocks mentioned here. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Disclosure: Kapitall's Becca Lipman and Eben Esterhuizen does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns, and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying, shares of Ultra Petroleum. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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