Shale industry told to shape up. 

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More and more investors are pressuring shale drillers to focus on profitability rather than growth. After years of generosity, major financiers of the shale boom are clamoring to see bigger returns on their investments. “Investors are no longer rewarding ‘growth at any cost’,” Martijn Rats and Amy Sergeant of Morgan Stanley wrote in a note. Their colleague, Evan Calio, was more blunt: “E&P (shale growth) model is capital destructive.” A growing number of analysts see the same trend unfolding in the shale patch. “Capital markets have clearly decided what they want. Reduced spending, higher returns and increased cash returns to shareholders,” analysts from Bernstein said. A focus that prioritizes profits over growth could improve finances and boost share prices, but it might also lead to less oil production. The analysts cite the recent decision by Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) to buy back shares.

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