Energy Business

Analysts Rake Over the Oil Patch, Chop Price Targets

When West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures closed above $50 a barrel on Monday, after rising nearly 9% in the month of July, it seemed that the benchmark level might be able to hold. Those hopes were splintered when crude dipped below the $50 level on Tuesday and fell below $49 on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse last week even cut its long-term price forecast for WTI from $62.50 to $57.00 a barrel in 2020. The bank doesn’t even think the market will return to supply-demand balance until 2019. Societe Generale analyst Irene Himona cut her forecast for Brent crude from $55 a barrel by the end of this year to $50, implying a WTI price about $2 to $3 below that level.

These reduced forecasts for prices not only affect producers. The outlook for oilfield services firms and other oil patch players also has dimmed. A number of stocks saw lowered earnings estimates and price targets this morning from several analysts. Here’s a brief summary.

HSBC has tempered its price targets on the three big services firms:

  • Baker Hughes a GE Co. (NYSE: BHI): price target cut from $48 to $46 with a Buy rating.
  • Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL): target price cut from $62 to $56 with a Buy rating.
  • Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB): price target cut from $80 to $76 with a Hold rating.

Five firms cut their price targets on National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV):

  • Cowen cut its price target from $37 to $30 with a Market Perform rating.
  • Barclays cut its price target from $43 to $38.
  • JPMorgan cut its target to $29 from $30.
  • Jefferies cut it price target from $38 to $34.
  • Instinet cut its price target from $35 to $30.

Oil and gas producer Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX) missed estimates when it reported quarterly results this morning and shares plunged by 7%. Here are some cuts announced this morning as well:

  • Guggenheim cut its price target from $51 to $40.
  • Merrill Lynch maintained its price objective of $38 and its Neutral rating on the stock.

Other producers experiencing ratings and price cuts were Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) and Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC). Here’s the sad news on these two:

  • Pioneer price target cut from $205 to $201, Outperform rating maintained at RBC.
  • Pioneer price target cut from $190 to $160 and rating cut from Outperform to Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
  • Range Resources price target cut from $43 to $37 at Guggenheim.

A smaller oil and gas services firm, Precision Drilling Corp. (NYSE: PDS), got a price target cut from $6 to $4.50 from analysts at Jefferies.

Finally, fracking sand provider U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA) saw price target cuts from four firms:

  • Cowen cut its price target from $60 to $40 with an Outperform rating.
  • Evercore ISI cut its price target to $44 from $48.
  • Guggenheim cut its price target from $60 to $40.
  • Wells Fargo cut its price target from $49 to $37.

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