As Oil Supply Remains Tight, Jefferies Has 4 Energy Stocks to Buy Now

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When oil was getting crushed earlier in the year, all we heard was that supply remained huge and was overwhelming demand and storage capacity. That appears to be changing, and changing pretty fast. Many of the firms we cover here at 24/7 Wall St, are raising their 2016-2017 crude oil growth assumptions, some as much as 1.2 million barrels per day. Even with increased production from places like Iran, increasing demand, especially from high growth areas like China and India, could level that field pretty fast.

Jefferies was one of the firms that recently raise oil demand growth numbers, and a new research report its cites the continued disruption in the supply flow from Canada and Nigeria as a reason a reasonably firm bid has stayed under the market despite crude recently poking through $50. The report also points to four stocks investors should consider now, all are rated Buy.

Encana

This top stock has been absolutely mauled, down a gigantic 84% since the summer of 2014. Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA) engages in the development, exploration, production and marketing of natural gas, oil and NGLs in Canada and the United States. It owns interests in plays such as the Montney in northern British Columbia and northwest Alberta, Duvernay in west central Alberta, Clearwater in central and southern Alberta, Deep Panuke in offshore Nova Scotia, Cadomin/Doig in northeast British Columbia, Horn River in northeast British Columbia and Granite Wash/Doig in northwest Alberta.

The Jefferies analysts are bullish on the company, and earlier this year elevated the stock to the Franchise Picks portfolio, which represents the highest conviction stocks at the firm. The company reported weaker first-quarter numbers year over year, but the Jefferies analysts feel that the big reduction and debt and the potential for the company to sell assets remain a positive.

The Jefferies price target was raised to a whopping $12, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is much lower at $8.79. The shares closed most recently at $7.64.

Marathon Oil

This company is a leading integrated oil and gas firm with extensive upstream operations. Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) operates through three segments. The North America Exploration and Production segment develops, explores for, produces and markets crude oil and condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and natural gas in North America.

The International Exploration and Production segment explores for, produces and markets crude oil and condensate, NGLs and natural gas in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Libya and the United Kingdom, as well as produces and markets products manufactured from natural gas, such as liquefied natural gas and methanol in Equatorial Guinea.

The Oil Sands Mining segment mines, extracts and transports bitumen from oil sands deposits in Alberta and Canada, and it upgrades the bitumen to produce and market synthetic crude oil and vacuum gas oil.

Top analysts cite the company’s higher multiple businesses, and the upstream cash margins have room to move up as shale production increases and oil prices recover. They also point out the stock trades at a very attractive discount to net asset value relative to industry peers.

Marathon investors are paid a 1.55% dividend. Jefferies has a $16 target price for the stock. The consensus target is $14.88, and the stock closed Friday at $14.34 per share.