4 Large Cap Energy Stocks to Lead Earnings Higher

April 20, 2017 by 247lee

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The recent bounce for crude oil pricing is a welcome sign for investors that saw huge declines in 2015, which finally bottomed in early 2016. The recent downturn once again had Wall Street bears screaming that prices could once again plunge. The reality is the OPEC production cuts, along with solid demand and the possibility that the price cuts could be extended when OPEC nations vote again on May 25, moved the price back over the $50 level.

Fadel Gheit, the well-respected energy strategist from Oppenheimer, feels that the worst for the sector is largely over, and like many on Wall Street is positive going forward. In a new research report, Gheit and his team posted estimated earnings projections for 2017 and 2018, all of which are much better than was posted last year. We screened the report for the large cap exploration and production companies that look to have among the biggest earnings increase this year and next year.

With every sub-sector of energy down this year, versus a 5% gain in the S&P 500, the sector is clearly one of the best places for growth investors for the next 12 to 24 months.

Apache

This stock has been the center of takeover chatter for years, and it could be an outstanding stock for aggressive accounts to consider now. Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) an independent energy company that explores, develops and produces crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. It operates onshore and offshore assets primarily in the Permian Basin, the Anadarko basin in western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, Gulf Coast areas of the United States, as well as in western Canada.

Apache lost money big-time in both 2015 and 2016. However, the Oppenheimer team like the company’s earnings growth potential for this year and 2018. They estimate 2017 earnings of $1.16 per share and huge growth in 2018 to $2.04 per share. Those numbers compare with a loss of $1.13 per share last year. Oppenheimer feels the company will have a solid quarter, even if the stock has been bludgeoned and is testing lows again printed last summer.

The Wall Street consensus price target for the shares is $61.09. The stock closed Wednesday at $49.19 per share.

Concho Resources

Besides being one of the top energy plays in the Permian Basin, this is also a Wall Street favorite. Concho Resources Inc. (NYSE: CXO) is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and exploration of oil and natural gas properties. Its principal operating areas are located in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and West Texas, where it owns 600,000 net acres. The company has 624 million barrels of oil equivalent of proven reserves, of which 57% is classified proved developed and 59% is oil.

The company is targeting to deliver 20% oil production growth this year, while investing within its cash flow, a move that many on Wall Street see as very positive. By carefully managing growth and spending, the company looks to be in position to restart the double-digit production growth next year, while many peers are struggling to generate enough excess cash flow to boost output.

Concho made money last year, posting earnings of $0.81 per share. The Oppenheimer team estimates earnings at $1.31 per share for this year and a whopping $2.06 for 2018.

The Wall Street consensus price objective is $164.82, and the shares closed Wednesday at $125.72 apiece.

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.