4 Large Cap Energy Stocks to Lead Earnings Higher

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EOG Resources

This leading energy company shows up well on many Wall Street screens. EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is one of the largest independent exploration and production companies operating in the United States, Canada, Trinidad, the United Kingdom and China. As of December 31, 2016, it had total estimated net proved reserves of 2,147 million barrels of oil equivalent, including 1,178 million barrels crude oil and condensate reserves, 416 million barrels of natural gas liquid reserves and 3,318 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

The company recently reported to the Texas Railroad Commission a big well in Loving County in the Delaware Basin. Top analysts say the well ranks as one of the best they have ever seen in the Delaware and could easily impact other companies drilling in the region.

The Oppenheimer team thinks the company can come in with solid first-quarter results, and after losing $1.61 per share in 2016, they see 2017 earnings at $1.25, and doubling that to a huge $2.50 per share in 2018.

EOG Resources investors are paid a small 0.71% dividend. The consensus price target on the shares is set at $114.13. The stock closed trading on Wednesday a $93.37 a share.

Occidental Petroleum

This is another of the higher yielding domestic stocks in the energy sector. Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) is an oil-levered multinational organization with principal business segments in oil and gas and in chemicals. The oil and gas segment explores for, develops, produces and markets crude oil and natural gas, primarily in the U.S. Permian Basin, Colombia, Bolivia, Libya, Oman, Qatar and Yemen. The chemicals segment manufactures and markets basic chemicals, vinyls and performance chemicals.

With a rock-solid balance sheet and a commitment to dividend coverage, investors look safe for now. Occidental has paid quarterly cash dividends continuously since 1975, and it has increased its dividend each year since 2002.

The company lost $1.01 per share in 2016, but Oppenheimer estimates it could rebound to $1.10 in per-share earnings for 2017 and $1.79 for 2018. The analysts also think the company could come in with a very solid quarter.

Shareholders in Occidental Petroleum are paid a huge 4.9% dividend. The consensus price objective is posted at $74.35. The shares closed Wednesday at $61.96.

For longer term investors, these four stocks could be among the cream of the crop. With huge estimates for this year and next, and oil having the potential to trade up near $60 later this year or early in 2018, investors who add shares at current trading levels could do outstanding.