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US shale stocks go into reverse

Chesapeake, Callon and Oasis Petroleum have all announced reverse stock splits, highlighting the parlous financial health of the sector

Economic uncertainty is raising fears of a swathe of shale bankruptcies, following US independent Whiting Petroleum’s Chapter 11 filing at the start of April. Company share prices have fallen so low that Chesapeake Energy, Callon Petroleum and Oasis Petroleum have proposed reverse stock splits to try to prevent themselves from being delisted. A reverse stock split is a way of inflating the price of a stock by reducing the number of shares in circulation, thereby boosting the value of each individual share. “Reverse stock splits in any industry, not just energy, are typically considered a bad sign by investors,” says Muhammed Ghulam, senior associate at US bank Raymond James. “Companies usua

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