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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Continental Resources Inc. rose Thursday after the oil and gas producer reported that it swung to a fourth-quarter profit on higher production.
In midday trading, the shares gained $4.50, or 5.5 percent, to $88.57 and peaked at $89 earlier in the session. That's close to the 52-week high of $92.98.
Raymond James & Associates said the fourth-quarter results "reaffirmed why we think Continental is one of the top (exploration and production) producers."
Stifel Nicolaus & Co. raised its target price for the shares to $90 from $83, in part citing promising results from test wells in the Three Forks field in North Dakota.
The Oklahoma City-based company reported after the market closed on Wednesday that fourth-quarter net income was $220.5 million, or $1.19 per share, compared with a loss of $112.1 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.
Continental said that excluding gains from derivatives and other items, it would have earned $1.04 per share. Analysts had expected 88 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.
Average daily production rose 42 percent in the fourth quarter, and the volume helped Continental overcome a slight dip in prices for oil and natural gas.