Oil service stocks are dependent on oil pricing for adding additional business on a sequential and year-over-year basis. Face it, what oil company is going to commit more capital expenditures to exploration and production if the price is dropping? A new report from UBS points out that at the firm’s recent conference in Texas, the tone was positive, with further data points supporting a strong outlook for the North American land market. By looking at the top stocks to buy, it seems that the way to play high oil prices is to stick with the top oil service names.
Here are the top oil service stocks at UBS. They are all rated Buy.
Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) is on the UBS list and with good reason. Management made it very clear that the targets set out on its Analyst Day will be “exceeded” and that is extremely bullish. The UBS team believes margin gains in North America will be driven by continued margin improvement in pressure pumping (24-hour work, improved execution/logistics), new technologies, increased activity in U.S. land (higher service intensity for horizontal wells) and higher Gulf of Mexico activity. Investors are paid a 1% dividend. The UBS price target for the stock is $80. The Thomson/First Call estimate is at $78.31. The stock closed Wednesday at $69.99 a share.
FMC Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FTI) is a top equipment stock to buy at UBS, where analysts believe that subsea equipment is one of the few services area that will see secular growth in 2014 and beyond. The company’s Subsea Technologies segment designs and manufactures subsea systems used in the offshore production of crude oil and natural gas, as well as multiphase meters used in production and surface well testing, reservoir monitoring, remote operation, fiscal allocation, process monitoring and control, and artificial lift optimization, and also provides installation and workover tools, installation assistance and field support for commissioning, intervention and maintenance of subsea systems. The UBS price objective is $63. The consensus target is $65.92. Shares closed Wednesday at $57.30.
Frank International N.V. (NYSE: FI) is also a top equipment name on the list, and it has been one of Jim Cramer’s top stock picks in the past. This specialty company provides various engineered tubular services for the oil and gas exploration and production companies in the United States and internationally. Its tubular services include the handling and installation of multiple joints of pipe to establish a cased wellbore, and the installation of smaller diameter pipe inside a cased wellbore to provide a conduit for produced oil and gas to reach the surface. Shareholders are paid a 1.3% dividend. The UBS price target is $27, while the consensus is higher at $28.22. The stock closed Wednesday at $23.54.
Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) continues to flex its muscle and remains a top stock to buy. Over the next three years, the UBS team forecasts a solid 5% increase in margins, which is in line with the company’s current guidance. That strong number, combined with the frack calendar tightening in some regions, should bode well for the large cap sector leader. Investors are paid a 0.9% dividend. UBS has a big $80 price target, while the consensus is posted at $74.29. Halliburton closed Wednesday at $63.44.
Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) is another oilfield services giant with far-reaching operations all around the globe. The company did not present at the conference, but UBS and other Wall Street analysts think it will continue to drive margins on execution, technologies and efficiencies. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and China are expected to be the strongest markets in 2014, and that should continue in to next year. Investors are paid a 1.6% dividend. The UBS price target is $110, and the consensus is higher at $118.02. The stock closed Wednesday at $101.87.
Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT) has been a frustrating stock for many investors over the years, and finally it seems to be coming off the deck this year. The company has had a strong move off the January lows and looks to break out and go higher. Weatherford offers a wide range of global capabilities, including a proprietary system for pressure management in the mushrooming arena of subsea production. The changes in government oil policy in Mexico may provide some favorable tailwinds for the company. UBS still likes the prospects and has a $24 price target. The consensus target is $23.44. Weatherford closed trading Wednesday at $20.98.
Oil demand from emerging markets should continue to grow, and with the busy summer driving and travel season almost upon us, there is no reason to think that oil prices will take a drastic decline. With $100 pricing per barrel becoming the norm, investors can bet the top service companies to stay fully ramped up.