OIL: The Great Speculation

Among U.S. oil companies, Amerada Petroleum Corp. is relatively small (28th in income), and virtually unknown to the public. But when little Amerada brought in a new oil well in North Dakota's rich Williston Basin last week, its stock jumped 10 points in a few hours. Such jumps, however, are routine for Amerada. It is that rarity of Wall Street poker: a true-blue chip backed by a handful of wild cards.

Amerada always looks high-priced; last week it was selling at $225—43 times earnings. Ordinarily, conservative investors would shun such a seemingly...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!