Jefferies Has 3 Top Oil Stocks to Buy for a Return to $50 Oil

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While the recent surge of oil seems to have run into a wall at $40, one thing seems to be in place. The market lows appear to have been put in with the drop into the mid-$20s and subsequent bounce back, and at least one top firm we cover here at 24/7 Wall St. thinks the low for the cycle is in.

A new Jefferies research note says that for the first time in history global capital expenditures in the energy industry will have fallen for two consecutive years. In addition, a combination of demand growth and non-OPEC production declines could very well set the stage for a $50 price handle by the end of this year.

We screened the Jefferies research universe and found three stocks the analysts are very positive on. All of course would benefit from a move higher to $50, and all are rated Buy.

Anadarko Petroleum

This top stock is still down a stunning 58% since the highs printed in 2014. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) operates through three segments. The Oil and Gas Exploration and Production segment explores for and produces natural gas, oil, condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs).

The Midstream segment provides gathering, processing, treating, and transportation services to Anadarko and third-party oil, natural gas and NGLs producers, as well as owns and operates gathering, processing, treating and transportation systems in the United States. The Marketing segment markets oil, natural gas and NGLs in the United States; oil and NGLs internationally; and anticipated liquefied natural gas production from Mozambique.

The company’s asset portfolio includes U.S. onshore resource plays in the Rocky Mountains, the southern United States, the Appalachian basin and Alaska, and the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, as well as international plays in Algeria, Ghana, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Liberia, New Zealand and elsewhere. As of December 31, 2014, it had approximately 2.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent of proved reserves.

Back in December, the company once again posted earnings that beat estimates and raised the guidance going forward. In addition to its strong performance, Anadarko is lowering costs and keeping the balance sheet as clean as possible.

Anadarko investors receive a 0.43% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $57, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $58.10. Shares closed most recently at $46.27.


Pioneer Natural Resources

Many Wall Street analysts love this stock for a pure crude oil play, and it recently was upgraded by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) engages in the exploration and production of oil and gas in the United States. The company produces and sells oil, natural gas and NGLs. It has operations primarily in the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale and West Panhandle field in Texas and in the Raton field in southeastern Colorado.

Pioneer is a huge player in the Permian and the Eagle Ford, and it owns more than 20,000 locations in the world’s second largest oil reservoir in the Midland Basin. Wall Street analysts were very positive on the third-quarter results and noted that the company reiterated annual production growth guidance of 15% or more while cutting the number of rigs expected to operate. With a stellar balance and the new capital from a secondary offering earlier this year, the company is poised to remain the number one player in the Permian.

Pioneer investors receive a tiny 0.06% dividend. The Jefferies target price is $147, and the consensus figure is set at $165.21. Pioneer closed last week at $139.19.

RSP Permian

This was one of the production growth leaders in the last half of 2015. RSP Permian Inc. (NYSE: RSPP) is an independent oil and natural gas company focused on the acquisition, exploration, development and production of unconventional oil and associated liquids-rich natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin. The vast majority of the company’s acreage is located on large, contiguous acreage blocks in the core of the Midland Basin, a sub-basin of the Permian.

The company recently caught an upgrade from Goldman Sachs, and many of the top analysts on Wall Street that cover the the company feel that there is a real possibility that it could be a takeover target.

The Jefferies price target is set at $33. The consensus figure is at $31.90. The stock closed most recently at $28.57.

If the Jefferies team is right and oil does move back to the $50 level by the end of the year, all these companies could trade dramatically higher. They all make sense for aggressive growth portfolios looking to add to energy allocations.