5 Solid Oil Services Stocks to Buy for Upside in 2018

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Every day it seems like we see new highs in the S&P 500, and bitcoin up another $1,000, and for most investors the urge to chase the performance and huge gains is probably overwhelming. However, the best thing to do for 2018 and beyond is look for the sweet spots in the market where there is still some relative value. One of those areas for sure is energy, especially in oilfield services.

A new and very comprehensive SunTrust report makes the case that oil could go higher than current consensus and that it is possible that the OPEC/non-OPEC voluntary cuts could be extended into 2019. SunTrust remains very positive on oilfield services for 2018, and the report noted this:

Rising cash flows should drive further increases in U.S. upstream spending in our opinion, with U.S. upstream spending forecast to increase by 25% in 2018 with a similar increase in 2019, driven by continuing development of onshore oil shales.

These five Buy-rated stocks have big upside to their SunTrust targets, and all make sense for growth accounts with some risk tolerance looking to add energy exposure.

Halliburton

This stock is still down over 20% from highs printed last January but it remains a top large cap oil services pick at SunTrust. Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. It serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the life cycle of the reservoir, from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field.

Halliburton is the second-largest provider of oil services and the number one player in pressure pumping services worldwide. For investors looking for an oilfield services company to add, this is arguably the best, and analysts feel it will be a huge benefactor as the frac market has tightened significantly and prices are 20% to 30% off the lows.

The company posted solid third-quarter results that topped analysts’ estimates, driven by better pricing and increased activity in North America, its biggest market. Revenue from North America surged 91% to $3.16 billion in the three months ended September 30, due to a “strengthening of market conditions” in the region. Total revenue rose 42% to $5.44 billion. Net profit attributable to Halliburton rose to $365 million in the quarter from $6 million a year earlier.

Halliburton shareholders receive a 1.62% dividend. The SunTrust price target for the shares is $54. The Wall Street consensus target is $52.91. The shares closed Thursday at $44.41.

Nabors Industries

This company provides drilling and rig services, and some feel it could be a takeover target. Nabors Industries Ltd (NYSE: NBR) owns and operates the largest land-based drilling rig fleet in the world, and it is a leading provider of offshore platform workover and drilling rigs in the United States and select international markets. Revenues in 2016 were $2.23 billion.

Nabors markets approximately 400 rigs for land-based drilling operations in the United States, Canada and approximately 20 other countries worldwide, and 41 rigs for offshore drilling operations in the United States and internationally.

The stock is down 62% year to date, which reflects investor focus on its balance sheet and ability to generate free cash flow and pay down debt. This concern has been exacerbated recently by a softer-than-expected earnings report and focus on 2018 noncash deferred revenues. While most don’t see a quick fix for the company, the worst surely looks to be over.

Nabors investors receive a 4% dividend, which could be lowered going forward. SunTrust has a $9 price target, and the consensus price objective is $8.66. Shares closed on Thursday at $5.58.