NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of independent oil and gas company Swift Energy  (SFY) - Get Report plunged 19.3% to $3.12 in late afternoon trading Monday as oil prices hit new five-and-a-half-year lows.

West Texas Intermediate crude dropped below $50 for the first time since April 2009 to an intraday low of $49.95 a barrel in late morning trading. Brent crude also declined more than 6% to a new five-and-a-half-year low of less than $52.66 a barrel.

WTI crude closed down 5%, or $2.65, to $50.04 a barrel, its lowest closing price since April 2009 and continued to fall in extended trading, according to Reuters.

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Oil prices have been sliding for months as OPEC pledged in November to maintain production despite a global oversupply. The organization has said cutting output would have little effect on price and would only lead to a surrender of some market share, according to CNBC.

More than 5.6 million shares had changed hands as of 3:30 p.m., more than double the daily average volume of 2,804,770.

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

"We rate SWIFT ENERGY CO (SFY) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, 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, generally high debt management risk, 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 66.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $7.36 million to $2.47 million.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, SWIFT ENERGY CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • SFY's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.41 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 70.00%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 64.70% 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.
  • SWIFT ENERGY CO 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SWIFT ENERGY CO swung to a loss, reporting -$0.07 versus $0.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.14 versus -$0.07).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SFY Ratings Report

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