With the stock market having entered the first official correction in about four years, many investors are looking for value. Some of that value may even be coming from places investors had wanted to ignore before the sell-off. It turns out that the selling pressure may have brought some long-term bargain opportunities in the oil and gas sector, as well as in tangents to energy, via services, master limited partnerships, solar and even coal.
24/7 Wall St. evaluates dozens of analyst research reports each day. After looking through multiple reports each week, there are always some standout sector calls. One warning about this review of energy sector calls, though. This sector has been absolutely cruel to investors looking for short-term bounces.
When considering these analyst upgrades and positive calls in energy, these are only meant for opportunistic investors with a very long time horizon, out deep into 2016 or even beyond. Trying to out-guess the market on the next direction of energy prices probably has created many implosions in 2015.
These are some of the key energy analyst calls for investors with a long-term view seen this week. Beyond just a reminder about risks, you can also find analyst calls that probably have big downside here as well.
Civeo Corp. (NYSE: CVEO) may not be a traditional energy company, but it provides remote site accommodations to the energy and materials industry. Civeo also has been destroyed as a stock, but it was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $4.00 price target (versus a $1.86 prior close) at Sterne Agee CRT. Shares rose 7% after the call to $2.00, but its 52-week range is $1.17 to $26.13. Is it really possible that the all-clear sign has arrived? When it comes to risk and reward and a history of this company, Civeo has brought more pain of late than could be imagined by most investors.
Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (NYSE: ETP) was given a big call by Bank of America Merrill Lynch this week. Despite a price target cut from the firm, there was close to 25% upside to the $60 price objective. This was actually a total return opportunity north of 30%, if you added in the distribution. A lot went on in the call, so check out the details in our original summary. Needless to say, this involves many other master limited partnerships and infrastructure players as well.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is no oil and gas stock, as it manufactures photovoltaic cells. Still, it is an alternative energy leader, and its whole industry has faced pressure due to ever lower oil and energy prices making solar less viable. Maybe that is ending. First Solar was started as Overweight and was given a $71 price target at Barclays. That represented close to 50% upside in the call. With shares close to $48.00 after the call, First Solar has a consensus price target of $63.50 and a 52-week range of $39.18 to $73.78.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) was reiterated as Outperform at Oppenheimer on Wednesday, with an $80 price target. With its oil price assumptions, Oppenheimer expects Occidental to generate operating cash flow of $4.7 billion in 2015 and $4.8 billion in 2016. The firm sees a cash flow deficit of $3.1 billion this year and $1.9 billion next year (excluding $1.5 billion in stock buybacks). Oppenheimer expects that the company will fund the deficit from cash on hand and additional borrowing, even though it is valued at a premium with a higher yield and lower net debt ratio. Occidental was right around $70.00 when the mid-week call was made. Its consensus price target was around $82.00, and its 52-week range is $64.83 to $99.51. Occidental’s drop in 2015 was listed as “only” 13%, versus 30% for its peers.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) was raised to Buy from Hold at HSBC, roughly at the same time that the oil and gas giant received the important EU Antitrust clearance to acquire BG. This was trading at roughly $51 mid-week, against a 52-week range of $48.77 to $80.96. Not much was seen from this call, but its shares have been battered from highs.
Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) was maintained at a Buy rating by HSBC, with a $96 price target, on Thursday. That compared to a $75.41 close on Wednesday. Also, Citigroup upgraded the stock to a Buy rating with an $87 price target. Schlumberger has a consensus price target of $99.93 and a 52-week range of $68.01 to $108.27. Note that HSBC upgraded peer Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) to a Buy with a $44 price target (versus a prior $38.17 close) on Thursday as well.
Westmoreland Coal Co. (NYSE: WLB) produces and sells subbituminous coal and lignite to plants that generate electricity. It is just hard to love anything tied to coal these days, but the bounce has been huge in some companies. Westmoreland Coal was started as Outperform with a $20 price target at BMO Capital Markets this week. This was against a prior close of $15.18, and shares were at $15.87 after a 4.5% gain on Wednesday’s close. At $15.87, the consensus target is supposedly above $30, and the 52-week range is $11.12 to $43.76. As this is coal, no color is being added.
Again, investors who are just trying to catch the bottom in oil prices and oil stocks should not consider these analyst calls. Oil has been more than painful this year, and the financial buyers who used to be in the market are no longer as active — if they are even allowed to be in the markets at all now. Whatever could go wrong for oil and energy’s recovery has gone wrong.