It has been a tough and tedious stretch for energy investors this year. After a promising start to the year with oil pushing towards the $55 a barrel mark and OPEC production cuts looking promising, prices dropped almost 20% to the mid $40s and the bears were getting restless. While the black gold finally found a bottom and become range-bound for months, many looked for a break above $50, which we finally saw this week.
A new RBC research report notes that the oilfield services group had a strong move last week, up 8% to far outpace the S&P 500. The sector was led by frac sand, which was up 10.9%, and U.S. land drillers with a 9.8% gain. While it may be early, it could be time for more aggressive accounts to note the $50 break and look for the large cap leaders. RBC has four rated Outperform.
Final approval for the merger of the Baker Hughes and General Electric was completed earlier this year, and this is the new entity. Baker Hughes, a GE Company (NYSE: BHGE) is a provider of integrated oilfield products, services and digital solutions.
The company’s upstream segment includes evaluation, drilling, completions and production. Midstream enables the power and compression efficiency for liquefied natural gas and pipeline and storage. Downstream builds reliability and safety into process operations that includes refining and petrochemical and fertilizer solutions.
The company’s industrial solutions segment offers power generation to advanced control systems and sensing technology that power industrial facilities. Digital transformation integrates data on an open platform with security and scale. It also enables field services with real-time insights.
RBC likes the combination of the two sector leaders and has a healthy $54.50 price objective. The Wall Street consensus price target is $57.41. The shares traded early Wednesday at $37.40, so the implied return is almost 50%.
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.
Halliburton shareholders receive a 1.7% dividend. RBC has a $60 price target on the shares. The consensus target is $54.06. Shares were last seen at $43.24, so hitting the RBC target would be almost a 30% gain for investors.
This top oil services company is a solid large cap pick for more conservative accounts. Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) is a supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to the international oil and gas exploration and production industry.
The company operates in the oilfield service markets through three groups: Reservoir Characterization, Drilling and Production. Reservoir Characterization Group consists of the principal technologies involved in finding and defining hydrocarbon resources. These include WesternGeco, Wireline, Testing Services and Schlumberger Information Solutions.
Schlumberger is the world’s largest provider of services and equipment used in drilling, evaluation, completion, production and maintenance of oil and natural gas wells. Revenues in 2016 totaled $27.8 billion, and the company posted EBITDA of a massive $6.5 billion.
Shareholders receive a 2.95% dividend. The $86 RBC price objective is well above the consensus target of $78.19. Share traded Wednesday at $68.01, for an implied return near 35%.
This company has been absolutely demolished from its 2014 highs, but it may be offering aggressive investors big upside potential. Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT) is one of the largest multinational oilfield service companies, providing innovative solutions, technology and services to the oil and gas industry. It operates in over 100 countries and has a network of approximately 1,200 locations, including manufacturing, service, research and development, and training facilities and employs approximately 37,000 people.
The company offers customers a wide range of global capabilities, including a proprietary system for pressure management in the mushrooming arena of subsea production. The changes in government oil policy in Mexico in 2014 may provide some favorable tailwinds for the company, despite the huge downturn in oil pricing.
Earlier this year the company named Mark McCollum as its new chief executive, luring him from his role as Halliburton’s chief financial officer. One of the new initiatives from the top is a new joint venture formed with Schlumberger, which will own 70% and be the operator of the hydraulic fracturing partnership, to be known as OneStim. Weatherford will own 30% and receive a one-time cash payment of $535 million.
RBC has set its price target at $6. The consensus target is $5.98. The stock traded at $4.16, and the implied return to the RBC target is a whopping 40%.
Clearly this is more of a value play for investors, especially buying shares in front of what is expected to be declining earnings. The top companies have fought through oil price swings before, and a break above $50, and maintaining that level into the mid $50s, could be very bullish.