Energy Business

Credit Suisse Slashes MLP Price Targets: 4 Investment Grade Companies to Buy Now

It was inevitable: the worse the pricing decks for oil and natural gas sink, the more that even the most bullish views on the energy master limited partnerships (MLPs) would be tempered down. With Brent and West Texas Intermediate losing a fifth of their value in the past month and a third since early October, the benchmarks have now hit levels not seen since 2004.

A new Credit Suisse report points out that despite the hemorrhaging the MLPs have seen over the past year, they traded at lower than current yields from 2000 to 2007, which was pre–shale revolution and pre–global financial crisis. The firm reduced price targets on 30 of the companies in their coverage universe by an average of almost 20%.

We screened the Credit Suisse universe for Outperform-rated companies that are also investment grade and found four that opportunistic investors should consider now.

Enterprise Products Partners

This is one of the largest publicly traded partnerships and a leading North American provider of midstream energy services to producers and consumers. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) once again, despite the energy slump, just raised its distribution 1%. The company maintains a very good long-term position in the market. It provides many of its services on the basis of long-term, fixed-fee contracts, insulating against some of the wilder swings of the commodities that it trades in.

One reason why many analysts may have a liking for the stock might be its distribution coverage ratio. This ratio is well above one times, making it relatively less risky among the MLPs. The company’s distributions have grown for several quarters and are expected to continue in 2016. Plus the Standard & Poor’s current rating is BBB+, which is investment grade, and the outlook is stable

Enterprise investors receive a very solid 6.57% distribution. The Credit Suisse price target drops from $37 to $30. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $34.32. Shares closed Monday at $24.22 apiece.

Magellan Midstream Partners

This top midstream company checks in high on the ratings list. Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: MMP) primarily transports, stores and distributes refined petroleum products and crude oil. The MLP owns the longest refined petroleum products pipeline system in the country, with access to nearly 50% of the nation’s refining capacity, and can store more than 95 million barrels of petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and crude oil.

The company sports a BBB+ credit rating from S&P, and the outlook is listed as stable. One main reason for the very positive ratings is that almost 85% of Magellan Midstream’s operating margin is protected by long-term, fixed-fee contracts, meaning that its cash flow is not just recurring and highly predictable, but also largely immune from energy prices. This helps to keep the distribution safer.

Magellan investors receive a 4.88% distribution. The Credit Suisse price objective drops to $80 from $91, while the consensus target is $78.15. Shares closed Monday at $65.31.

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