Energy Business

Can NOV Really Fall Another 20%

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE: NOV) had a reality check during Wednesday’s trading session. This oilfield and offshore giant equipment maker was on the wrong side of an analyst call which was precipitated by falling oil prices. Looking at the company on a broader scope, other analysts are more bullish to far less bearish than Credit Suisse in its report.

Credit Suisse downgraded NOV to an Underperform rating from Neutral and lowered its target price to $43 from $60. It is worth noting that this is the street low and is the most extreme view against the company that any analyst has published. Credit Suisse is also revising its estimates going forward. The next lowest analyst call came in at $58 which implies an upside, whereas Credit Suisse’s call does not.

The brokerage firm made this downgrade considering the company’s outlook for the next two to three years. Despite being called an exceptionally well-managed company in the downgrade, the analyst’s take is that the call is simply too obvious not to do. NOV’s Rig Systems business is expected to be negatively by the lack of new deepwater rig orders through 2016 as well as the company’s exposure to the North American and international activity slow down due to the lower oil price.

Before oil prices started to drop last summer, the deepwater sector was moving into an inflation-induced down-cycle. This was characterized by the natural reaction to delay and defer projects until there was more return. NOV has a dominant market share in most of its businesses but manufacturing needs orders, which will be slow to come across the entire enterprise.

Credit Suisse’s Jim Wicklund explained the revisions to estimates as:

We are pushing out our 2017 estimates ($2.70), which could be too draconian but demonstrates the risk to earnings from both globally lower capex and a lack of offshore rig orders. Our 2015 EPS estimate is now $4.62 from $4.40 (14% below consensus of $5.34); 2016E is $2.96 from $4.54 (39% below consensus of $4.89), and 2017E is $2.70, or 63% below consensus of $7.21.

Shares of NOV were down 6% at $54.22 in the last hour of trading on Wednesday. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $70.67 and a 52-week trading range of $53.76 to $86.55.

As far as what a move down into the $40s really means, let’s just say it would be a multi-year low. The last time shares slid that far was all the way back in 2010. Now it just seems to be up to the industry, preceded of course by where oil prices go from here. Crude oil hitting $44 on Wednesday did not do anything to help mitigate the damage from this severe analyst downgrade.

Again, this is the most bearish and extreme price target view of all analysts. Sometimes it is interesting to see what the outlier calls say.

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