ATP Oil & Gas Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of oil and natural gas producer ATP Oil & Gas (NAS: ATPG) fell as much as 17.2% this morning on a series of big-volume spikes before climbing back to a smaller 4% drop in lighter afternoon trading.

So what: ATP's move was an amplified version of the charts for rivals such as McMoran Exploration (NYS: MMR) , Forest Oil (NYS: FST) , and Callon Petroleum (NYS: CPE) , all of which fell more than 8% before bouncing back to total swoons in the 3% range. None of these tickers are tied to any specific bad news today -- it's just an (over-)reaction to the market's panicky mood today.

Now what: It bears mention that all of these suffering stocks carry four- or five-star ratings in our CAPS system out of five possible, all with approval ratios north of 95%. Unless every oil well runs permanently dry next week, I think we're looking at a whole bunch of prime buying opportunities on these kinds of unmotivated drops. I've never owned an oil stock in my life, but this is starting to feel like a good time to get started.

Interested in more info on the small-cap petroleum stocks we've mentioned? The Fool can help:

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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