Shale oil drillers gave stock shareholders what they wanted, then investors punished them anyway

In recent months U.S. shale drillers have answered investors‘ calls to tighten their belts, showing they are finally willing to do what‘s necessary to return cash to shareholders.

In return, investors sold off their stocks.

The latest episode in the American shale revolution shows that shale drillers — and their stock prices — are entering a transition period. Drillers are exercising the financial discipline that could generate a return on investment, but shareholders are now seeing the production growth that first attracted them to the stocks fade.