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Newfield Exploration (NFX) Upgraded by Stifel Nicolaus

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Newfield Exploration (NFX) was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" by Stifel Nicolaus Friday.

Newfield Exploration fell 0.1% to $24.87 in early trading.

The analyst firm set a price target of $32 for the oil producer. The upgrade is due to the fact that the stock has fallen to an attractive entry point for the analyst firm.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO (NFX) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.19 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.49, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NFX has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 11.56% from its price level of one year ago. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO swung to a loss, reporting -$10.24 versus $3.99 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.81 versus -$10.24).
  • The gross profit margin for NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO is currently very high, coming in at 74.69%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 1.44% trails the industry average.

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