Gastar Exploration (NYSE: GST) and Midstates Petroleum (NYSE:MPO) are both small-cap basic materials companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, valuation, dividends, institutional ownership, earnings, risk and analyst recommendations.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Gastar Exploration and Midstates Petroleum’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Gastar Exploration $64.50 million 2.63 $36.39 million N/A N/A
Midstates Petroleum N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Gastar Exploration has higher revenue and earnings than Midstates Petroleum.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

94.8% of Midstates Petroleum shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of Midstates Petroleum shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Gastar Exploration and Midstates Petroleum, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Gastar Exploration 0 4 1 0 2.20
Midstates Petroleum 0 0 0 0 N/A

Gastar Exploration presently has a consensus target price of $1.40, suggesting a potential upside of 64.71%. Given Gastar Exploration’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Gastar Exploration is more favorable than Midstates Petroleum.


This table compares Gastar Exploration and Midstates Petroleum’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Gastar Exploration N/A N/A N/A
Midstates Petroleum 607.09% 2,904.50% 201.54%


Midstates Petroleum beats Gastar Exploration on 5 of the 8 factors compared between the two stocks.

Gastar Exploration Company Profile

Gastar Exploration Inc., an independent energy company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil, condensate, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the United States. Its principal activities include the identification, acquisition, exploration, and development of oil and natural gas properties on unconventional reserves, such as shale resource plays. The company holds interests in the oil and natural gas-rich reservoirs, including the Meramec and Osage, the Oswego limestone, the Woodford shale, and Hunton limestone formations. As of December 31, 2016, its principal assets included the STACK play covering approximately 83,800 net acres located in the Mid-Continent area of the United States, as well as approximately 14,500 net acres in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia. The company was formerly known as Gastar Exploration Ltd. and changed its name to Gastar Exploration Inc. in January 2014. Gastar Exploration Inc. is based in Houston, Texas.

Midstates Petroleum Company Profile

Midstates Petroleum Company, Inc. is an independent exploration and production company. The Company operates oil and natural gas properties, and is engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and natural gas. It is focused on the application of drilling and completion techniques in oil and basins in the onshore United States. It conducts oil and gas operations, and owns and operates oil and gas properties in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. Its Mississippian Lime assets consist of approximately 69,680 net prospective acres in the Mississippian Lime trend in Woods and Alfalfa Counties of Oklahoma, and approximately 12,160 net acres in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, which produces from, and is prospective in, the Hunton formation. Its Anadarko Basin assets consist of approximately 111,190 net acres in the Anadarko Basin, with over 82,530 net acres in Texas and over 28,650 net acres in western Oklahoma.

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