8. Gastar Exploration ( GST) Company Profile: Gastar Exploration is an independent energy company that engages in the exploration and production of natural gas and oil primarily in the U.S. Share Price: $3.39 (June 27) Stock Performance This Year: -21% Analyst Consensus: Eight researchers have a "buy" rating on Gastar shares, including analysts at KeyBanc Capital and SunTrust Robinson. The other two analysts covering the stock say investors should hold shares. The average analyst price target of $5.97 implies potential upside of 76%. Bullish Case: In a June 2 research note, KeyBanc Capital analyst Jack Aydin reaffirmed his "buy" rating on Gastar along with a price target of $5.75. Aydin points out the size and leverage of its Marcellus shale position of approximately 73,000 net acres, along with the expected ramp up in activity in the second half of 2011 and production growth momentum into 2012. "With the recent market correction, shares have underperformed significantly...and we believe any weakness today could provide an entry point for investors interested in a micro-cap growth name leveraged to the Marcellus shale play of West Virginia," Aydin wrote in his report. TheStreet Ratings has a "sell" rating on Gastar's stock because of "feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."