Noble Energy ( NBL) gets a $113 target price, a 25% premium. Goldman analysts say they like the company because Noble recently announced higher long-term production growth targets, on order of a 17% compound annual growth rate, and higher long-term capital expenditures, which means the company is bullish on its own prospects given its ties to the booming U.S. oil-shale industry. "We see Noble Energy levered to our favorite themes of 'shale scale' and exploration," said the note, referring to the drilling in the U.S. oil-shale deposits in Appalachia and North Dakota. "We believe Noble's aggressive drilling programs in the Niobrara and Marcellus shale could provide Noble advantages of scale in these plays and ultimately lead to cost/production surprises," said Goldman analysts in a Nov. 16 research note. Noble's shares carry a 1.02% projected dividend yield.
Western Refining ( WNR) gets a $23 price target, a 95% premium, from Goldman. The company is an independent oil refiner that owns and operates two refineries in Texas and New Mexico. It also operates 150 retail-service stations throughout the Southwest and is a wholesale petroleum-products distributor. The company just reported third-quarter earnings of $1.38 per share, outdoing analysts' views by 3 cents per share. Western Refining's shares have a three-year annualized return of 18%.