NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the third quarter of 2015, the S&P 500 energy index declined sharply even when compared to a deep fall the general market.

The S&P 500 energy index was down 17% in the quarter, compared to the S&P 500, which declined nearly 7%.

In the first half of the year, S&P 500 energy index also underperformed the market and was down 6%, compared to the market as a whole, which was up 1.2%.

Since oil prices have been depressed for almost a year, energy stocks have taken a beating. Many of these companies spend a lot of money getting oil out of the ground, processing it, storing it and transporting it and so their fortunes improve when the price of oil (what consumers pay for their efforts) goes up.

That said, here are the worst of the worst in the energy sector in the third quarter. TheStreet paired the 10 best performing energy sector stocks with TheStreet Ratings to determine whether they really are poor investments going forward.

Here are the 10 stocks in the energy sector which had the worst third-quarter.

TheStreet
paired each of these tickers with TheStreet Ratings to let you know if you should buy, sell, or hold these best performing stocks. (Note: Because of TheStreet Ratings parameters, not all stocks on this list have a rating).


TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool, projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which stocks were among the worst performers to date, counting down from 10 to one.

CHK data by YCharts
10. Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) - Get Report
Rating: Sell, D
Market Cap: $4.9 billion
Year-to-date return: -34.38%

Image placeholder title

Chesapeake Energy Corporation produces oil and natural gas through acquisition, exploration, and development of from underground reservoirs in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP (CHK) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2250.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $191.00 million to -$4,108.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.29 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, CHK maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.70, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $314.00 million or 76.77% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 67.58%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 2950.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHK
Image placeholder title

RRC

data by

YCharts

9. Range Resources Corporation

(RRC) - Get Report


Rating: Hold, C
Market Cap: $5.4 billion
Year-to-date return: -34.95%

Range Resources Corporation, an independent natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and oil company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas and oil properties in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates RANGE RESOURCES CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate RANGE RESOURCES CORP (RRC) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • RRC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 34.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 49.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, RANGE RESOURCES CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • RANGE RESOURCES CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RANGE RESOURCES CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.78 versus $0.70 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 92.8% in earnings ($0.27 versus $3.78).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 169.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $171.39 million to -$118.59 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.23, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: RRC
Image placeholder title

WMB

data by

YCharts

8. Williams Companies, Inc.

(WMB) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, B-
Market Cap: $27.6 billion
Year-to-date return: -35.79%

The Williams Companies, Inc. operates as an energy infrastructure company primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Williams Partners, Access Midstream, and Williams NGL & Petchem Services.

TheStreet Ratings team rates WILLIAMS COS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate WILLIAMS COS INC (WMB) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 34.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. When compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, WILLIAMS COS INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • 49.37% is the gross profit margin for WILLIAMS COS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.19% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 160.06% to $814.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, WILLIAMS COS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -19.71%.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 10.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $103.00 million to $114.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WMB
Image placeholder title

CPGX

data by

YCharts

7. Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc.

(CPGX)


Rating: N/A
Market Cap: $5.8 billion
Year-to-date return: -36.49%


ESV data by YCharts
6. Ensco plc (ESV)
Rating: Sell, D
Market Cap: $3.3 billion
Year-to-date return: -36.78%

Image placeholder title

Ensco plc provides offshore contract drilling services to the oil and gas industry worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Floaters, Jackups, and Other.

TheStreet Ratings team rates ENSCO PLC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate ENSCO PLC (ESV) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market, ENSCO PLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $427.80 million or 15.25% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, ENSCO PLC has marginally lower results.
  • ESV's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 65.49%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ESV has outperformed against the industry average of 22.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • ENSCO PLC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENSCO PLC swung to a loss, reporting -$11.70 versus $6.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.12 versus -$11.70).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ESV
Image placeholder title

DVN

TST Recommends

data by

YCharts

5. Devon Energy Corporation

(DVN) - Get Report


Rating: Hold, C-
Market Cap: $15.2 billion
Year-to-date return: -37.65%

Devon Energy Corporation, an independent energy company, primarily engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the United States and Canada.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DEVON ENERGY CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate DEVON ENERGY CORP (DVN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.79, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.83 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 34.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 24.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • DEVON ENERGY CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DEVON ENERGY CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $3.89 versus -$0.10 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 43.4% in earnings ($2.20 versus $3.89).
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, DEVON ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $1,101.00 million or 46.26% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: DVN
Image placeholder title

MUR

data by

YCharts

4. Murphy Oil Corporation

(MUR) - Get Report


Rating: Hold, C-
Market Cap: $4.2 billion
Year-to-date return: -41.78%

Murphy Oil Corporation operates as an oil and gas exploration and production company worldwide. It explores for and produces crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company was formerly known as Murphy Corporation and changed its name to Murphy Oil Corporation in 1964.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MURPHY OIL CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MURPHY OIL CORP (MUR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.42, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.02, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for MURPHY OIL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 65.69%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MUR's net profit margin of -10.27% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $185.30 million or 74.39% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MURPHY OIL CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MUR
Image placeholder title

MRO

data by

YCharts

3. Marathon Oil Corporation

(MRO) - Get Report


Rating: Sell, D+
Market Cap: $10.4 billion
Year-to-date return: 41.97%

Marathon Oil Corporation operates as an energy company. It operates in three segments: North America Exploration and Production, International Exploration and Production, and Oil Sands Mining.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MARATHON OIL CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MARATHON OIL CORP (MRO) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 171.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $540.00 million to -$386.00 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MARATHON OIL CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $408.00 million or 62.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 60.07%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 207.54% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • MARATHON OIL CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARATHON OIL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.41 versus $1.32 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 198.6% in earnings (-$1.39 versus $1.41).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MRO
Image placeholder title

SWN

data by

YCharts

2. Southwestern Energy Company

(SWN) - Get Report


Rating: Hold, C-
Market Cap: $4.9 billion
Year-to-date return: 44.17%

Southwestern Energy Company explores, develops, and produces natural gas and oil in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Exploration, Development and Production; and Midstream Services.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO (SWN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.73, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that SWN's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.50, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 34.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 26.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 36.91% is the gross profit margin for SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SWN's net profit margin of -103.14% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $399.00 million or 31.81% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SWN
Image placeholder title

CNX

data by

YCharts

1. CONSOL Energy Inc.

(CNX) - Get Report


Rating: Sell, D
Market Cap: $2.2 billion
Year-to-date return: 54.92%

CONSOL Energy Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company in the United States and internationally. The company operates through two divisions, Exploration and Production (E&P), and Coal.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CONSOL ENERGY INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate CONSOL ENERGY INC (CNX) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2319.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$24.93 million to -$603.30 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CONSOL ENERGY INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $65.85 million or 70.21% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 70.62%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 2300.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • CONSOL ENERGY INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CONSOL ENERGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.73 versus $0.35 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 78.1% in earnings ($0.16 versus $0.73).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CNX