Investing

Energy Highlights Jefferies 4 Value Calls With Solid Upside Potential

After a nice run off the February lows, it seemed that the market was starting to get a little tired, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s dovish speech Tuesday changed that. With the end of the quarter just days away, many portfolio managers who had a lousy 2015 are trying to book a solid quarter to start this year, and they may be selling some big winners into the recent strength these past few days to take some winning trades off the table.

This week’s top value calls to Buy from Jefferies all look like solid choices for investors looking to add to portfolios, but not wanting to run way out on the risk limb. We found four companies that have solid upside, and probably less downside than more aggressive choices.

Energy Transfer Equity

Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (NYSE: ETE) provides diversified energy-related services in the Unites States. It owns and operates approximately 7,700 miles of natural gas transportation pipelines and three natural gas storage facilities in Texas, as well as approximately 12,800 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline. The company sells natural gas to electric utilities, independent power plants, local distribution companies, industrial end-users and other marketing companies.

This company has had a stunning 4.12 million shares of stock recently purchased by insiders, with Chairman Kelcy Warren buying millions of shares at the end of last year.

The stock was hammered in February when the company announced that it was replacing its chief financial officer with the CFO of Energy Transfer Partners. While the company said that the change was not caused by a disagreement over accounting or financial matters, the move spooked the market and some Wall Street firms cut their ratings.

While the Jefferies team thinks the company should cut its distribution, they keep a Buy rating. Investors may want to keep an eye out for a cut and then purchase shares.

Investors are paid a rich 16.72% distribution. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $15, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price objective is posted at a whopping $28.13. The stock closed Tuesday at $6.82 per share.


Methanex

This stock is still down over 50% from highs posted less than a year ago. Methanex Corp. (NASDAQ: MEOH) produces and supplies methanol in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe and South America. It also purchases methanol produced by others under methanol offtake contracts and on the spot market.

While methanol prices have rallied, they are still way off the highs, and the Jefferies team feels that at 50% of replacement value, shares are discounting very weak demand and a total lost year for 2016. The analysts do expect average realized prices to rally in 2017 and note that an oil rally can drive both pricing and volume.

Methanex investors are paid a solid 3.36% dividend. Jefferies has a $41 price objective on the shares, and the consensus price target is $37.52. The stock closed most recently at $32.78.

PPG Industries

On the heels of a huge acquisition recently by Sherwin Williams, PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) may get a boost as well. PPG manufactures and distributes coatings, specialty materials and glass products. It operates in three segments: Performance Coatings, Industrial Coatings, and Glass.

The Performance Coatings segment provides coatings products for automotive and commercial transport/fleet repair and refurbishing; light industrial and specialty coatings for signs; coatings, sealants and transparencies for commercial, military, regional jet and general aviation aircraft, and transparent armor for specialty applications; and chemical management services.

The Industrial Coatings segment provides adhesives and sealants for the automotive industry; metal pretreatments and related chemicals for industrial and automotive applications; precipitated silicas for tire, battery separator and other markets; substrates used in radio frequency identification tags and labels, e-passports, drivers’ licenses and identification cards; organic light emitting diode materials for use in displays and lighting; optical lens materials and photochromic dyes for optical lenses and color-change products.

Lastly, the Glass segment produces flat and fiberglass for use in commercial and residential construction, wind energy, energy infrastructure, transportation and electronics industries.

The Jefferies analysts feel that larger capitalization companies will continue to take market share, and consolidation within the industry can lift valuations.

PPG shareholders are paid a 1.3% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $121, while the consensus target price is posted at $116. The shares closed most recently at $110.57.

Targa Resources

This top energy master limited partnership (MLP) has had a string of positives lately. Targa Resources Corp (NYSE: TRGP) is a leading provider of midstream services and is one of the largest independent midstream energy companies in North America. Targa owns, operates, acquires and develops a diversified portfolio of complementary midstream energy assets.

The company is primarily engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing and selling natural gas; storing, fractionating, treating, transporting and selling natural gas liquids (NGLs) and NGL products, including services to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exporters; gathering, storing and terminaling crude oil; storing, terminaling and selling refined petroleum products.

Targa posted better quarterly numbers, and it closed a $1 billion private placement, which will save $80 million a year in interest costs, and finally closed the Targa Resources Partners deal. Jefferies expects the company can keep the current distribution through 2018.

Targa shareholders are paid a 13% distribution. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $34, and the consensus price objective is listed at $34.81. The shares closed Tuesday at $28.02 apiece.


The Jefferies team figures all these top companies have much more upside potential than downside concerns. While a continued firming of oil prices would be a plus, with the worst possibly over, the potential looks solid either way.