This remains a top Wall Street energy pick and is on the US 1 list at Merrill Lynch. Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is the world’s largest international integrated oil and gas company. It explores for and produces crude oil and natural gas in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
The company also manufactures and markets commodity petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene plastics, and specialty products, and it transports and sells crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.
Exxon also reported quarterly profits that fell short of analysts’ expectations, marking the fourth time in the past five periods the company has disappointed. The miss was largely due to weaker earnings in Exxon’s refining and marketing segment due to heavier-than-anticipated maintenance and operational problems. Exxon’s business producing oil and gas bolstered earnings, with the company saying it is favoring oil output over gas drilling in its U.S. shale fields.
Also, the company recently raised its dividend by a nickel per share to $0.82 per share. That now translates to a solid 3.98% dividend.
The $110 Merrill Lynch price objective is well above the consensus target price of $88.88. The shares ended trading on Tuesday at $81.27.
Royal Dutch Shell
This company has survived the seesaw in oil pricing as good as or better than any other major integrated. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide through its Upstream and Downstream segments. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas and NGLs.
Royal Dutch Shell also converts natural gas to liquids to provide fuels and other products; markets and trades crude oil and natural gas; transports oil; liquefies and transports gas; extracts bitumen from mined oil sands and converts it to synthetic crude oil; and generates electricity from wind energy.
In addition, the company engages in the conversion of crude oil into a range of refined products, including gasoline, diesel, heating oil, aviation fuel, marine fuel, LNG for transport, lubricants, bitumen and sulphur; production and sale of petrochemicals for industrial customers; refining; trading and supply; pipelines and marketing; and alternative energy businesses.
The company just announced the start of a $25 billion stock buyback program, and while second-quarter earnings were somewhat weak, free cash flow at the integrated giant remains strong.
Investors are paid a huge 4.76% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set its price objective at $78. The posted consensus price target is $81.01, and the stock closed Tuesday at $66.90 a share.
With oil hovering at the $70 a barrel level, you can bet that the big integrated companies are looking to produce and sell as much as possible, especially while the sanctions on Iran remain in place. These stocks are outstanding long-term buys for growth portfolios looking for income as well.
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