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Under-the-Radar Energy Stocks for Today

Arena Resources of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an oil and gas exploration and development company with properties in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas. Its revenue, earnings and stock price have suffered during oil's descent, though Arena has padded its cash position and cut debt during the recession. Consequently, it's in an ideal position to maximize profits as oil rebounds. Oil yesterday rose above $63 a barrel for the first time in six months. Ratings has had a "buy" rating on the stock since its initial coverage date of May 25, 2007.

The company's first-quarter revenue fell 55% to $20 million, underperforming its peer group. Earnings per share declined 66% to $0.17. However, Arena has a $52 million cash balance, having paid off all $41 million of its debt since the first quarter of 2008. Arena has no interest expenses to speak of.

Investors have rewarded Arena's financial strength, sending the stock up 22% this year, beating the S&P 500 and the Dow. The stock is expensive based on earnings, sales, cash flow and book value in the oil and gas exploration and production industry. Arena trades at a price-to-earnings multiple of 18.13, making it 20% more expensive than its average peer.

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