Energy Business

With Natural Gas Demand Growing, 4 Preferred Stocks to Buy

Lee Jackson

In the middle of a scorching hot summer, it may seem hard to find a reason to buy natural gas stocks. The fact of the matter is natural gas is starting to be a go-to fuel here and abroad on a year-round basis. A new report from Cowen says that in the next two years the U.S. natural gas market could turn from a domestic to an international market.

The Cowen team feels that prices are set to rise to $3.50 per thousand cubic feet by 2018 from the current lower and depressed levels. While they caution that sustained demand above that price level would require weather-related demand, like more bone-chilling winters, the bounce from here could be substantial. The Cowen team is focused on four preferred stocks to buy that are rated Outperform and may be poised to be the leaders when demand and pricing heads higher.

EQT

This company is expected to have a stunning 99% of their production come in as natural gas. EQT Corp.’s (NYSE: EQT) superior cost structure and above-average growth may help it exploit stable and rising natural gas prices. With an increasing reserve structure and a projected higher number of Marcellus wells to be drilled in the coming five years, the company exhibits industry-leading organic growth momentum.

With more than 125 years of experience, EQT continues to be a leader in the use of advanced horizontal drilling technology. This technology is designed to minimize the potential impact of drilling-related activities and reduce the overall environmental footprint. That is something that is very shareholder friendly. Plus, the company is a low-cost producer with a very strategic midstream presence. EQT’s superior cost structure and above-average growth may help to ease concerns some investors have about current struggling natural gas prices.

ALSO READ: UBS Stays Bullish on 4 Top Utilities but Lowers Price Targets

The Cowen team notes that the company’s midstream holdings are among the best in the industry. EQT completed the initial public offering of the general partner back in May, and it carries an $8.3 billion valuation. With a $1.75 billion stake in Equity Midstream Partners, the company has a combined $10 billion in midstream holdings.

EQT investors are paid a small 0.16% dividend. Cowen initiates coverage with a price target for the stock set at $98. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is higher at $104.24. The stock closed Tuesday at $73.50.