Energy Business

SunTrust Says Use Storm Weakness to Buy These Top Energy Stocks

After what must seem like an eternity to the folks in Houston and all along the Texas and Louisiana gulf coast, Hurricane Harvey has moved onshore and is slowly dying out. The storm, which ended up being one of the worst over the past half century, set a rainfall record for continental U.S. tropical storms with 49.32 inches of rain recorded at a site in Houston.

In a new research report, the energy team at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey note that with the combined recent drop in oil pricing, plus the potential for continued near-term weakness as a result of the storm, any sector sell-off could be a solid buying opportunity.

The analysts highlight nine top companies to Buy in the report, and here we zero in on four that look like outstanding picks for growth investors now. All are rated Buy at SunTrust.

Carrizo Oil & Gas

This is a top energy stock for value buyers to consider. Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) is a Houston-based energy company actively engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas from resource plays located in the United States. Carrizo’s current operations are principally focused in proven, producing oil and gas plays, primarily in the Eagle Ford Shale, the Utica Shale in Ohio, the Niobrara Formation in Colorado and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

Many on Wall Street see the company as one of the best positioned due to the low breakeven costs, solid operating scale and a very good balance sheet with ample liquidity. Top analysts also think they company may take advantage of difficult situations for others and make acquisitions, especially in the Eagle Ford.

Some analysts sees as much as 13% oil growth next year, even if the company doesn’t add additional rigs in the Eagle Ford. Wall Street as a whole is also very positive that the firm’s capital expenditures will prove to be accretive.

The SunTrust price target on the stock is $20. The Wall Street consensus target is higher at $29.59. Shares closed Thursday at $13.44.

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, recently 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 many analysts may like the stock might be its distribution coverage ratio. The company’s distribution coverage ratio is well above one times, making it a relatively less risky MLP. The distributions have grown for several quarters, and last quarter Enterprise Products Partners announced that the board of directors of its general partner declared an increase in the quarterly cash distribution paid to partners to $0.42 per common unit, or $1.68 per unit on an annualized basis.

Investors receive a 6.44% distribution. SunTrust has a $32 price target, and the consensus target is $32.60. Shares closed Thursday at $26.07.


This stock is still down almost 25% from highs printed for this year in January and remains the top large cap pick on Wall Street. Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. It serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the life cycle of the reservoir, from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field.

Halliburton is the second-largest provider of oil services and the number one player in pressure pumping services worldwide. For investors looking for an oilfield services company to add, this is arguably the best, and analysts feel it will be a huge benefactor as the frac market has tightened significantly and prices are 20% to 30% off the lows.

The company posted solid second-quarter results, and analysts were encouraged by Halliburton’s restraint regarding frac newbuild equipment and believe the recent reset somewhat derisks smid-cap frac prints. Yet the company’s full third-quarter frac schedule suggests runway for others in the oilfield services arena.

Shareholders receive a 1.86% dividend. The $50 SunTrust price target is lower than the consensus estimate of $57.50. Shares closed Thursday at $38.97.

U.S. Silica Holdings

This stock has been absolutely smoked but has awesome upside potential. U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA) is a leading producer of commercial silica used in the oil and gas industry and in a wide range of industrial applications. Over its 117-year history, it has developed core competencies in mining, processing, logistics and materials science that enable it to produce and cost-effectively deliver over 200 products to the firm’s customers across all end markets.

The company currently operates nine industrial sand production plants and eight oil and gas sand production plants. With the price of oil stabilizing, many of the short-sellers that targeted the frac sand companies may be starting to cover their positions.

The company reported second-quarter results that missed estimates and lowered forward estimates. All the frac sand stocks have been hit hard, and this is arguably the best play for investors to look at now.

Shareholders receive a 0.9% distribution. The SunTrust price target is $35. The consensus target is $52.14, and shares closed Thursday at $27.21.

While it is entirely possible that oil stays range bound, breaking the $50 level in the fall for West Texas Intermediate could be a psychological lift for the stocks and investors confidence. Plus, any major disruption in oil production from a global macro event and we could see a spike in pricing, and that could boost shares as well.

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