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7 Natural Gas Stocks to Watch

6. OGE Energy (OGE - Get Report), an energy and energy services provider, offers physical delivery and related services for both electricity and natural gas in the South Central U.S. The company operates in four segments: electric utility, natural gas transportation and storage, natural gas gathering and processing and natural gas marketing.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend buying and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. The stock's average 12-month price target is $53.00, which is 14.5% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

The company reported operating revenue of $978.1 million for the second quarter of 2011 compared to $887.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income attributable to OGE stood at $103.0 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, compared to $77.3 million, or 78 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. For its electric utility business, total electricity sales increased to 7.4 MWH from 6.9 MWH in the year-ago quarter as cooling-degree days were 20% higher than last year and 62% above normal. Total throughput volumes per day for the natural gas segment increased to 1.89 from 1.74 earlier.

The company estimates 2011 earnings to exceed the top end of the previously issued earnings guidance of $3.00 to $3.20 per average diluted share. This growth is mainly led by higher gross margins at the utility from the extremely hot summer weather experienced in its service territory until now in 2011.

OGE has expanded testing of smart grid technology-supported equipment that can help the utility deliver energy more efficiently. The company recently said it is completing the second half of a demand response study this summer with 6,000 residential and business customers to reduce peak demand for power.

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