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Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

2 Lesser-Known Energy Stocks Ahead of Earnings

Stocks in this article: CLR ATO XOM

Institutions including The Vanguard Group own 56% of the outstanding shares of the company, and insiders are much less committed than those at CLR. Atmos' CEO 66-year-old Robert Best does own almost 382,000 shares, which at $36-per-share means he has $13,748,000 of his money where his job is.

Looking at 70% payout ratio, I personally feel the dividend yield might be in jeopardy unless the company ramps up quarterly earnings, which fell 17.5% (year-over-year) in the first quarter. This is another one of these high debt levels ($2.38 billion) low total cash ($47 million) conundrums.

Their trailing 12-months revenue as of March 31 was almost $4 billion, $44.10 of revenue per share, which represented a 22% drop year-over-year. Frankly, their other key financial statistics are unremarkable, and I'd stay away from ATO until after they announce their earnings and give guidance.

ATO is selling close to their 52-week high of $37.33 with a current P/E ratio of 18.5 and a forward P/E ratio of almost 15. If they disappoint after the market closes Wednesday, new investors may be able to join Best in owning shares closer to the 200-day moving average price of slightly above $33 a share.

The chart below shows the price of ATO shares vs. its debt-to-equity ratio. This is another company to keep an eye on and..."ready, get set, not yet!"

ATO Debt to Equity Ratio Chart ATO Debt to Equity Ratio data by YCharts

At the time of publication the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust -- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

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