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Energy Stocks Are Hitting Multiyear Highs. Insiders Bought Up Shares.

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A natural-gas compressor station

Justin Merriman/Bloomberg

Energy stocks have surged as oil and gas prices rise. Supply shortages were already in play before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As multinationals such as


Exxon Mobil

 unwind energy partnerships for Russian projects, it’s a given that supply will remain low.In recent days, insiders at energy explorer


APA

(ticker:


APA

) and shale-oil firm


Coterra Energy

(


CTRA

) have bought up shares, which are handily outperforming the market. So far this year, APA stock has surged 47% and Coterra stock has gained 37%. The

S&P 500 index has slid 9%.

Also, both APA and Coterra shares are near multiyear intraday highs. Last week, APA stock reached $39.73, a level it hasn’t traded at since October 2018. Coterra was formed by the October 2021 combination of Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex Energy; Coterra stock reached an intraday high of $26.32 last week, a level it hasn’t traded at on a pro forma basis since May 2019.

APA director Chansso Joung paid $1.3 million on Feb. 25 for 40,000 shares, a per-share average price of $32.92, according to a form he filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Joung, an APA director since February 2011 and a former Warburg Pincus partner, now owns 65,285 shares.

“My recent share purchase is tied to my confidence in APA’s strategy,” Joung wrote to Barron’s in an email. “Over the past year, the company accomplished several key financial and operational objectives including generating robust cash flow, strengthening the balance sheet and achieving aggressive ESG goals. My belief is that APA is well positioned for future success.” ESG refers to environmental, social, and governance criteria for sustainability.

Joung last purchased the stock in November 2016 when he paid $870,279 for 15,000 shares, an average price of $58.02 each.

Coterra President and CEO Thomas Jorden paid $1 million over Feb. 28 and March 1 for 44,000 shares, at an average price of $23.26 each. Jorden purchased the stock through a trust that now owns 1.2 million shares. He owns an additional 58,875 shares through a 401(k) plan.

Coterra didn’t respond to a request to make Jorden available for comment. Jorden was CEO of predecessor company Cimarex, and this marks his first open-market purchase of Coterra stock, although he bought Cimarex stock as recently as March 2020.

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at edward.lin@barrons.com and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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