Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse last Wednesday. The firm set a $45.00 price target (versus a $34.14 prior close and versus a $34.13 close on Friday). Nomura Securities also had it among six exploration companies to buy now as well. Newfield has a consensus price target of $42.48, slightly lower than on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it has a 52-week range of $22.31 to $40.27. If Credit Suisse is right, Newfield’s potential return for investors is north of 30%.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) was not issued a formal analyst upgrade, but the firm was named among the UBS Dividend Rulers portfolio for picks for the rest of 2015 and into 2016. Occidental wants to continue growing its dividends, and it expects to begin buying back more shares this year and beyond. It faces an energy price correction by having one of the strongest balance sheets among sector peers, with net cash at year-end 2014 estimated at around $1.7 billion and a whopping $11 per share of cash available for buybacks. Occidental’s chemicals and other products are said to be a buffer against the drop in oil, and cutting capex by about 40% is expected to help.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) was part of a three-way value call from Jefferies this week. The firm pointed out that Shell has been in a sort of “penalty box” since announcing the huge BG acquisition. Their take: Shell is dirt cheap versus peers, it has made asset sales, and it is lowering capex , all of which brings the conclusion from the Jefferies to on with huge value and a huge a dividend. The Jefferies price target is $66.70 on an ADS basis. With a share price of just over $50, the implied upside if Jefferies is accurate would be almost 40% when you include the dividend.
Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) was upgraded at Goldman Sachs on Friday, to the firm’s prized Conviction Buy List from a prior Neutral rating. It has not been the norm of late for a firm like Goldman Sachs to come out with such high conviction in a European oil and gas giant. This French company operates globally and has its tentacles in so many aspects of energy, chemicals, refining, mining and in end-user products that require chemicals and fuels that the firm thinks it is becoming safer here. Total’s ADSs closed at $45.13 on Thursday and closed at $45.12 on Friday, against a 52-week range of $40.93 to $65.42.
Again, not all analysts are bullish on the oil and gas sector. Several cautious calls were made this week. BP PLC (NYSE: BP) took two downgrades at the end of the week. Petrobras, or Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), took multiple analyst downgrades after Brazil’s sovereign rating was cut to junk status. And for another view from the dark side, short sellers have massively raised their bets against many key major oil companies.
In case you missed the positive energy calls from analysts over Labor Day weekend, there were seven key energy analyst calls along that front: Energy Transfer Partners, Occidental, Shell, Schlumberger and more.