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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Denver-based energy company Bill Barrett  (BBG) closed down 17.1% to $8.97 on Wednesday as oil prices plunged.

WTI crude was down 4.3% to $44.24 as of 4:05 p.m., while Brent crude was down 2.34% to $48.44, according to CNBC.

Oil prices, which have fallen more than 50% since June 2014, have fallen to their lowest point in nearly six years in recent weeks amid a global oversupply. The supply glut coupled with aggressive exploration and production from many of the world's largest oil companies and OPEC's unwillingness to cut production have held down oil prices.

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More than 5.1 million shares changed hands Wednesday, compared to the daily average volume of 1,990,720.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates BILL BARRETT CORP as a "sell" with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate BILL BARRETT CORP (BBG) a SELL. This is driven by several 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. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."

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

  • BBG'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 64.99%, 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.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, BILL BARRETT CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • BBG, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • BILL BARRETT CORP 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, BILL BARRETT CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$4.06 versus $0.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.32 versus -$4.06).
  • The gross profit margin for BILL BARRETT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 63.73%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -25.61% is in-line with the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BBG Ratings Report

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