Despite OPEC agreeing to lift oil production, West Texas Intermediate crude continues to trade above $70 a barrel, closing Friday at $73.95, and has averaged $60 a barrel this year. While many people across Wall Street cite the lower levels of storage, the fact that the economy has started to reopen on a larger scale has been a big reason for the continued strength in black gold. The question for investors now, after a big run off the 2020 lows, is what is the best path to follow when investing in the energy sector.
One very solid idea is to stick with the mega-cap integrated majors, and with good reason. They have diversified business models, the strength and leverage of their sheer size and, perhaps most importantly for those looking for income, they all pay solid and huge dependable dividends.
With three of the industry leaders posting solid results last week, and one set to report tomorrow, investors can still snag some of the best in the business at reasonable entry prices, and enjoy quarterly dividends that will help beef up the total return potential. Here we focus on four Buy-rated sector leaders, but it is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
This energy giant is a solid way for investors who are more conservative to be positioned in the sector. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is a U.S.-based integrated oil and gas company, with worldwide operations in exploration and production, refining and marketing, transportation and petrochemicals. The company sports a sizable dividend and has a solid place in the sector when it comes to natural gas and liquefied natural gas.
With the strongest financial base of the majors, coupled with an attractive relative asset base, many on Wall Street feel that Chevron offers the most straightforwardly positive risk/reward. Although current conditions do not warrant a large focus on production growth, Chevron possesses numerous medium-term drivers (Noble integration, Permian, TCO/WPMP expansion, Gulf of Mexico exploration, Vaca Muerta, and so on) that should support production levels in the coming years.
Chevron posted quarterly earnings of $1.71 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.54 per share. This compares to a loss of $1.59 per share a year ago. These figures are adjusted for non-recurring items. The report represents an earnings surprise of 11.04%.
Current shareholders receive a 5.26% dividend, which analysts feel comfortable will remain at current levels. The BofA Securities price target for the shares is $125. The consensus target across Wall Street is lower at $122.79. The final Chevron stock trade on Friday was reported at $101.81 a share.