#2 Cabot Oil & Gas
Ticker: COG
YTD performance: 59%
Market cap: $6.3 billion

Natural Gas producers, such as Cabot Oil & Gas (COG), have been among this year's best performing stocks, helped by higher energy prices and heightened interest in the exploration of oil shale and other rock formations for alternative fuel sources.

Cabot Oil owns drilling rights in the Marcellus shale, a geological formation in the Appalachians containing massive quantities of natural gas.

While Marcellus shale has large quantities of natural gas, drilling efforts are still too early to have a meaningful impact on Cabot's business. The company recently reported an adjusted profit of $20.7 million, or 20 cents a share, giving Cabot a hefty price-to-earnings ratio of 52. That type of ratio puts Cabot shares up there with dotcom names like Netflix (NFLX).

Many analysts remain bullish on Cabot. Bank of America analysts recently upgraded their price target on Cabot shares to $105.




All data current as of June 17, 2011.
Last updated June 29 2011: 7:39 AM ET
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