While many of the top S&P 500 companies are reporting this week, some of the top exploration and production (E&P) energy stocks don’t step up to the plate until next week or early May. A new report from RBC highlight four top E&P stocks that could present earnings results upside to current expectations.
The RBC team points out that despite the huge difference in benchmark oil prices year over year, oil services costs are coming down much faster and steeper than many budgets had planned for. This could provide an earnings tailwind for some top stocks to buy. The RBC team have four top stock rated Overweight that they think could surprise to the upside: Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) and Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OAS).
Not only is this a top stock to buy at RBC, but some think the company is a very possible acquisition target. Anadarko is one of the biggest independent oil and gas producers in the country, with exploration or production work in all major domestic drilling areas, as well as in South America, Africa, Asia and New Zealand.
The RBC analysts feel that with the resolution of Tronox liabilities and the resulting tax adjustments, they expect the Wall Street focus may shift back to the positive underlying operating trends and the potential for further monetization and sell-down of major assets in 2014 and next year. They also think the company could come in higher than consensus.
Anadarko investors are paid a 1.15% dividend. The RBC price target is $102. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is $99.10. Shares closed higher Thursday at $93.46. Earnings will be reported on May 4.
This top intergrated is a solid growth play, and an outstanding dividend-paying stock. The company has spent the past five years divesting assets, and although it is cash rich, it has somewhat dampened earnings and growth expectations all year long, which could prove just the catalyst that helps it come in above current expectations.
ConocoPhillips is a major global E&P company with operations and activities in 30 countries that include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, China, Australia, offshore Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Algeria, Russia and Qatar. There has also been speculation recently that the company is considering selling some of the North Sea assets it owns, including Aasta Hansteen, Alvheim and Grane fields. That sale could raise as much as $1 billion for the company.
ConocoPhillips investors are paid an outstanding 4.25% dividend. The RBC price target is set at $78, and the consensus target is $75.19. Shares closed Thursday at $68.26. The company reports April 30.
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