Will BP stock recover from Russia exposure?

Chris Lau, Kapitall: BP stock tracked lower with companies with exposure to Russia. Will it recover?

When BP plc ( BP) reached $50 in late February 2014, shares promptly sold off. Unrest brewing between the Ukraine and Russia is fueling uncertainty. BP’s major holding in Rosneft, which is majority owned by the Government of Russia, could face disruption. In the USA, setbacks in the legal proceedings against BP in relation the Gulf of Mexico spill are not helping either. These external factors should make investors consider whether the drop in BP is temporary or not.

BP committed to Russia

BP’s CEO Bob Dudly affirmed his commitment to the company’s Russian investment. Rosneft is an important asset that generates strong cash flow for BP. BP is selling down assets, boosting profitability and revenue, all to pay for claims related to the spill.

BP has a goal of growing operating cash flow by 2018. By committing to winning assets like Rosneft, it is very likely that BP will improve shareholder value in the next few years.

Related investments

Exxon Mobile ( XOM) could interest investors uninterested in controversial companies like BP. Its market capitalization is the largest in the energy segment. Chevron ( CVX) is also bigger than BP. Exxon and Chevron are valued at a forward P/E of 13 and 10, respectively. BP’s forward P/E is 10, which is also comparable to that of Total SA ( TOT).

Chevron could face volatility as the Ukraine/Russia story unfolds. It has an exploration and oil and gas development project in western Ukraine.

Expect more volatility

In the short term, events in Ukraine will raise the volatility in BP shares. There could be downside ahead, but the outcome of Ukraine’s instability is unpredictable. The only thing an investor who is bullish in BP may do is to look at the decline as a buying opportunity.

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