Analyst Stays Very Bullish on 5 Top Oilfield Services Stocks

March 19, 2018 by 247lee

Despite an oil price that has stayed over $60 a barrel for most of 2018, the energy sector has been a weak performer this year. All this comes amid announcements that the United States is poised to become the world’s top oil producer as early as this year. Fast-growing U.S. production and restraints on oil production abroad have allowed the country’s oil production to surge to the top spot.

One area in energy that looks very good for the rest of the year is oilfield services, and a new Jefferies report suggests that spending here on the services arena can jump as much as 25% year over year, which could support as much as 30% revenue growth year over year. The report noted this:

Math aside, we believe growing US oil production requires more “service dollars” per incremental barrel of oil, which should allow for a robust multi-year oilfield services earnings upcycle. We prefer Pressure Pumping over the next 6 months but remain positive on Land Drillers on underappreciated long term earnings power.

The company is very bullish on five top picks in the sector, and all are rated Buy at Jefferies.

Halliburton

This company is still down over 20% from highs printed in January and remains a top large cap oil services 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 fourth-quarter results that topped analysts’ estimates, driven by better pricing and increased activity in every reporting region, with particular strength internationally. The company’s revenue trajectory exceeded Schlumberger’s fourth-quarter detail.

Halliburton shareholders are paid a 1.57% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the shares is a whopping $69. The Wall Street consensus price objective is at $63.19. The stock closed trading last Friday at $45.91 a share.

C&J Energy Services

This smaller cap company is well liked across Wall Street desks and is another top pick for 2018 at Jefferies. C&J Energy Services Inc. (NYSE: CJ) is a completion and production services company that provides well construction, well completions and well services to the oil and gas industry.

The company also manufactures, repairs and refurbishes equipment used in the oilfield services industry. It operates in various North American onshore basins. Its Completion Services segment includes the hydraulic fracturing services, cased-hole wireline services, coiled tubing services and other well stimulation services. Its Well Support Services segment includes services, including rig services, fluid management services and other special well site services.

The Jefferies analysts believe its coiled tubing and cementing businesses could be higher returning than fracking and continue to generate healthy free cash flow generation for the pumpers in 2018.

Jefferies has a $40 price target for the stock, and the posted consensus target was last seen at $39.77. The stock closed at $25.70 on Friday.

Keane Group

This top pick stock is somewhat off the radar for most energy investors. Keane Group Inc. (NYSE: FRAC) is one of the largest pure-play pressure pumping companies in the United States, with the bulk of its revenue derived from its hydraulic fracturing and wireline businesses. It operates solely in the United States, with a presence in many of the major shale basins. Revenues in 2017 totaled $1.53 billion.

The Jefferies team likes the stock as it has slightly underperformed its peers and may be offering a solid value at current levels. Late last year the company announced a new asset-based revolving credit facility, which expands Keane’s total availability by $150 million to a total of $300 million, subject to a borrowing base. In addition, subject to approval by the applicable lenders and other customary conditions, the New ABL Facility allows for an increase in commitments of up to an additional $150 million, up from a previous amount of up to $75 million.

The $24 Jefferies price target compares with the $22 consensus target price. The shares closed trading on Friday at $15.91 apiece.

Precision Drilling

Canada’s leading oilfield services firm provides contract drilling, well servicing and strategic support services to its customers. Precision Drilling Corp. (NYSE: PDS) provides customers with access to an extensive fleet of contract drilling rigs, directional drilling services, well service and snubbing rigs, coil tubing services, camps, rental equipment and water treatment units backed by a comprehensive mix of technical support services and skilled, experienced personnel.

Despite the company’s large Canadian exposure, 54% of its U.S. drilling fleet is located in the Permian Basin, which remains the hottest shale area in the United States. This stock may be a top pick for aggressive accounts looking for low-priced stocks to gain more shares.

Jefferies has set its price objective at $4.50. The consensus target is $4.44, and the stock closed on Friday at $2.84 per share.

U.S. Silica

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. Toss in increased shale activity this year and this could be a big winner.

U.S. Silica shareholders are paid a 0.98% distribution. The Jefferies price target is a whopping $58. The posted consensus target is $43.98, and the stock closed at $26.25 per share on Friday.

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These five top oilfield services plays not only look like solid picks but they are good value buys for the rest of 2018. With earnings reports for the first quarter not all that far away, it makes sense to buy partial positions and see how the results come in.