St. Mary Land & Exploration Needs Regulations Refresher

| About: SM Energy (SM)

St. Mary Land & Exploration Company (NYSE:SM) issued a very late in the day (Jul 16) press release (approximately 2114 ET) announcing a laundry list of significant disclosure. They also announced that their earnings will be released after the close of trading on Aug 2, with an early morning conference call on Aug 3. Consult your calendar and you will see that many observers would call this a severe violation of the thirty day quiet period regulation.

The press release starts with announcements about promotions and retirements. After your eyes glaze over, the document continues with a very helpful and detailed discussion of operations and drilling activities. It concludes with financial modeling information relating to almost every aspect of operations. Any investor who closely watches the stock will be able to predict the EPS.

Guidance updates should not be issued just before the real numbers come out. They certainly should not be issued within the 30 day quiet period.

The stock is currently trading at the lower end of its 52 week range. Some significant insider selling is occurring. In June, Robert L. Nance, a Senior Vice President backed up his truck and offloaded 34,024 shares. Shortly thereafter, John Seidl, a director, backed up a smaller truck and offloaded 11,428 shares. So why is everyone exercising their options at the lower end of the 52 week range?

The company, including its board of directors and any executive with corporate governance-driven responsibilities, need some remedial tutorials about securities regulations before they really get into some serious trouble. Hey, In-House Counsel - that means you have to get tough or it will be your fault. Milam Randolf Pharo (VP Legal), does the finger point to you?