NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  Shares of WPX Energy (WPX) were down 1.82% to $11.84 in Monday afternoon trading despite the stock getting a vote of confidence from BMO Capital Markets in the morning.

The Canadian bank upgraded the Tulsa, Okla. natural gas explorer's stock to "outperform" from "market perform," citing its high-quality asset base.

WPX has significant natural gas plays in the Delaware Basin of west Texas and southern New Mexico and in the Williston Basin in Montana and the Dakotas.

BMO believes that WPX's assets in the Williston Basin's Bakken Formation are underrated.

"While WPX's Delaware Basin asset receives the majority of the focus and capital, its Bakken position is top tier among the play, and we think competitive on a returns basis with the Delaware," BMO analyst Phillip Jungwirth wrote in a research note.

Though WPX is dealing with a leveraged balance sheet, BMO expects the company's net debt-to-EBITDA ratio to come down to roughly 3.5x by 2018, more in line with the sector median at the bank's price deck. BMO currently expects to see WPX record a 4.1x debt-to-EBITDA ratio for the 2016 fiscal year.

BMO has a $16 price target on the stock.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate WPX ENERGY INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. 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 feeble growth in its earnings per share, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WPX

WPX Chart WPX data by YCharts

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