When the fracturing revolution started, the Permian Basin was ground zero, and for a few years the region was the hottest spot on the planet for investors looking to own exploration and production companies that were exploiting the vast reserves of oil there. When the price of oil tumbled, some of the companies were overextended, and they either went out of business or cut back operations to a minimum.
A new research report from Stifel makes the case that some of the top companies that thrive there are way oversold and are offering aggressive energy investors some of the best entry points in years. The report noted this:
We believe the Permian stocks are relatively oversold and investor concerns associated with Permian growth are overstated. The basin’s investment thesis has historically been quality based. As we entered second quarter earnings, quality was consensus and the Permian was the preferred basin. Most of the basin’s producers exited the second quarter with modest execution overhangs. We believe the execution issues are explainable and the basin’s redeeming qualities remain intact.
Of Stifel’s eight top picks in the Anadarko and Permian basins, here we focus on four in the Permian that look like outstanding values. They are rated Buy at Stifel.
This is a top play for investors looking to the Permian Basin. Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC) is an independent exploration and production company. Its primary activities are in the Mid-Continent and Permian Basin areas of the United States. The company is focused on increasing shareholder value through strategies linked to generating attractive economic returns on capital employed and profitable growth in per-share reserves, production and cash flow. It intends to profitably grow reserves and production through a balanced mix of exploration, exploitation and acquisitions.
Cimarex has a diversified base of high-quality production and attractive drilling opportunities. It should be noted that hedge funds have initiated sizable new positions in the company over the past year, and like its brethren in the Permian, many consider the company a very solid takeover target.
Investors receive a 0.32% dividend. Stifel has a whopping $168 price target. The posted consensus target is $124.23. Shares closed Monday at $107.25.
This Wall Street favorite is one of the top energy plays in the Permian Basin. Concho Resources Inc. (NYSE: CXO) is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and exploration of oil and natural gas properties. Its principal operating areas are located in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and West Texas, where it owns 600,000 net acres. The company has 624 million barrels of oil equivalent of proven reserves, of which 57% is classified proved developed and 59% is oil.
The company is targeting to deliver 20% oil production growth this year, while investing within its cash flow, a move that many on Wall Street see as very positive. By carefully managing growth and spending, the company looks to be in position to restart the double-digit production growth next year, while many peers are struggling to generate enough excess cash flow to boost output.
Top Wall Street analysts feel that the company’s debt load is below average, as is the firm’s commodity price sensitivity, both of which are big positives for investors.
The Stifel price target for the stock is $185, and the Wall Street consensus target is $144.86. Shares closed Monday at $123.05.
This is smaller capitalization stock for aggressive investors to consider. Parsley Energy Inc. (NYSE: PE) is an oil and gas producer with 227,000 net acres in the Permian Basin. The majority of acreage sits on the Midland side of the basin, but the company also holds a small acreage position in the Delaware Basin.
The company had 222 million barrels of oil equivalent of proved reserves at the end of 2016, of which 61% was oil. Through strategic acquisitions and acreage swaps, it has grown its acreage position since its initial public offering and has over 7,900 horizontal locations across multiple prospective zones.
Stifel has set its price target at $46, while the consensus target is $38.88. Shares closed Monday at $25.61.
Pioneer Natural Resources
Many Wall Street analysts love this stock for a pure crude oil play. (NYSE: PXD) operates a modern fleet of more than 24 top performing drilling rigs throughout onshore oil and gas producing regions of the United States and Colombia. Pioneer production services are supported by 100 well-servicing rigs, more than 100 cased-hole, open-hole and offshore wireline units, and a range of advanced coiled tubing units.
Pioneer is a huge player in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford in Texas, and the company owns more than 20,000 locations in the world’s second largest oil reservoir in the Midland Basin. With a stellar balance sheet, the company is poised to remain a top player in the Permian as it expects to deliver solid production growth in 2017 and beyond.
Pioneer has continued to pursue a comprehensive Midland Basin infrastructure plan to accompany development, including water, tank batteries/saltwater disposal, sand and gas processing. These investments have helped lower the company’s direct cash operating costs with ongoing efficiency gains offering further opportunities for compression.
Pioneer investors receive a 0.05% dividend. The $248 Stifel price target is well above the consensus target of $187.90. Shares closed on Monday at $137.
Four top companies to buy now that have big Permian Basin exposure. While more suited to aggressive growth portfolios, they are all solid additions that offer tremendous entry points.