NEW YORK (TheStreet) – Even though the price of crude oil has fallen more than 25% since June, ConocoPhillips (COP) , the third-largest energy company in the U.S., may be worth a second look for investors seeking a bargain.
That's because with its strong balance sheet, ConocoPhiliips can adjust its expenses according to the price of oil to maintain its profitability. Last week, the company said its earnings rose 9% in the third quarter despite a 16% drop in revenue and said it will reduce its capital spending to less than $16 billion next year from the estimated $16.7 billion in spending for this year.
Must Read: Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Dividend Stocks
But even with the lower spending, ConocoPhillips projects its production will increase 3% to 5% in 2015, because it will be able to squeeze more oil from its more-developed fields with higher returns in places such as the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. Meanwhile, it will cut spending in less profitable fields.
Shares of ConocoPhillips, which closed Monday at $70.56, have fallen 12.6% during the past three months, dropping with the price of oil. The stock trades at 9.5 times this year's estimated earnings, roughly half the level of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, and has a dividend yield of 4%, compared with 2.9% for Exxon Mobil (XOM) and 3.6% for Chevron (CVX)
There's upside, too, with the stock price. According to CNNMoney, the median 12-month price target of analysts is $87, which is about 22% higher than Monday's closing price.