Why Six Big Oil and Fracking Companies Just Became Great Stocks to Buy

August 20, 2013 by Jon C. Ogg

Oil spill
Source: Thinkstock
Today’s top analyst upgrades that we produce each morning was heavily dominated by oil and gas stocks. Truth be told, the reason was quite simply that Canaccord Genuity was initiating coverage on key exploration and production companies and oil and gas companies. Ten companies were picked up in new research coverage, with six of the ten being Buy ratings and four getting assigned with Hold ratings. No investor cares about a Hold rating unless it is being upgraded to Hold from “Sell” so we are only highlighting the new “Buy” ratings.

Apache Corporation (NYSE: APA) hits close to home for 24/7 Wall St. because we just identified it as a new entrant in stocks trading under book value. Canaccord Genuity said that it is a Buy with a very high and above-consensus price target of $106 based upon its drilling on overdrive and a restructuring can unlock its value. As a reminder, this one has tanked due to direct exposure to operations inside the troubled nation of Egypt. The $106 price target implies upside of 40% if Canaccord Genuity is correct in its assessment.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) was started as Buy with a $45 price target and called simply the best of the Marcellus Shale. Its $45 price target implies upside of about 22.5% to Monday’s closing price.

Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN) was started as Buy with a $75 price target based upon the transition to oil and nat-gas liquids and a restructuring that can boost its stock price. The $75 price target implies upside of close to 33%.

Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD) was started as a Buy rating with a $220 price target, implying upside of close to 33% as well. Canaccord called this just the tip of the Permian iceberg.

Range Resources Corporation (NYSE: RRC) was started as a Buy with a $93 price target based upon it having much more running room in the Marcellus shale region. Canaccord thinks there is 22% upside here.

Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE: SWN) was started with a Buy rating and a $50 price target, which implies potential upside of 36% or so if it all pans out. Canaccord believes that the Marcellus will drive future growth here.

In case you did not see the implications here, it this upgrade cycle is based largely on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Canaccord Genuity is not the only outfit telling its customers to buy into the fracking boom. Merrill Lynch just identified several key fracking winners as well, and there are only a few overlaps in the reports. Even Jefferies has some overlapping stocks here in a fresh research report to boot.