Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) Stock Falls Despite Earnings as Crude Prices Tank

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) shares closed trading down 1.72% to $31.41 on Thursday following the release of the company's first quarter earnings results before the opening bell today.

The energy company reported a first quarter net loss of $208 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, less than half the 57 cents per share the company reported a year ago but ahead of the 9 cents per share analysts' forecast for the just concluded quarter.

The company also reduced its capital expenditure budget to $5.7 billion from $6 billion.

"Canadian Natural continues to prudently manage its balance sheet and liquidity. Following the precipitous fall in crude oil pricing, we proactively adjusted our capital spending profile to reflect targeted internal cash flow generation while optimizing the value of investments made and protecting the growth profile of the Horizon Project. We continue to focus on cost reduction and efficiency improvements to further improve returns in the current price environment," said CFO Corey Bieber.

Industry standard Brent crude for June delivery closed down 3.28%, or $2.22, to $65.55 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas crude is down 3.3%, or $2.01, to $58.92 per barrel.

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

"We rate CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES (CNQ) 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 revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year."

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

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