Shares of BP plc (BP) were on the move Tuesday, jumping about 3.45% after the company delivered a solid fourth quarter.
Non-GAAP earnings of $1.04 per share came in 20 cents ahead of estimates, while GAAP earnings of 81 cents per share beat analysts' estimates of 58 cents per share by 23 cents or almost 40%. Revenue results also came in strong, with sales of $75.7 billion growing 11.6% year-over-year and crushing consensus expectations by $1.3 billion.
Sheesh, what a great quarter by BP. But it gets even better. Oil and gas production rose to 3.7 million barrels per day, an 8% year-over-year gain and BP's highest level of annual production since 2010. Recall that Exxon Mobil (XOM) just saw a big boost in production thanks to its operations in the Permian.
BP divested $3.5 billion of assets in 2018 and plans to divest over $10 billion worth over the next two years. That's necessary as the company is carrying a large amount of debt, which is at its highest level in some 10 years. However, as long as oil prices are at $50, the company still believes it can cut debt, buy back stock and fund its capex budget with little issue over the coming year. Currently, WTI crude is trading at $54 per barrel.
Ultimately, this was a strong quarter from BP and its results show in its massive top and bottom line beats. The rebound in oil prices last month is encouraging, particularly if tightened supply can keep prices north of $50 or $60 per barrel. With shares still well off the highs and with a dividend yield of almost 6%, it's one to consider on the long side.
Trading BP Stock
I love the price action we've seen in BP stock over the last six weeks. Shares rebounded sharply out of the deep hole they were in around the Christmas holidays. After bouncing from $37 to $40 and consolidating for a few weeks, BP stock shot over $41 a few days ago.
The stock price chopped between $41 and $41.50 leading up to earnings, where it promptly gapped higher, hitting almost $43 in Tuesday's trading session. The move is impressive as BP stock gapped over the 200-day moving average, as well as the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement from the October highs to the December lows. If BP stock can hold up over this level, it will be very encouraging to the bulls.
If so, BP stock could work its way up to the highs near $46. If it can't hold this $42.50 area, look to see if $41.50 acts as support.