In the first look at a series of earnings reports in the energy sector from the third quarter, there is a bit of a mixed picture offered up on the sector’s performance. Most analysts are pretty pessimistic about what is forthcoming. The third quarter encompassed a period of time in which both oil and natural gas prices fell. It also saw investor scrutiny continue to rise, the rig count continue to fall, and production gains showed more signs of flattening out. “We expect oil and gas company results to be downbeat for US operations, with oil production growth stalled, negative hurricane effects for those with US Gulf operations, and prices too low to promote much short-term optimism,” Standard Chartered wrote in a note. So far, it hasn’t been all bad news. ConocoPhillips beat consensus estimates, in large part because of a big asset sale, which it used to increase […]