Penn West Petroleum (PWE) Stock Declines Today on Analyst Downgrade

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Penn West Petroleum (PWE) shares are down 3.7% to $3.39 in early market trading on Monday after the Canadian oil exploration and production company had its rating downgraded to "underperform" from "market perform" by analysts at BMO Capital Markets on Monday.

The firm lowered the company's price target to $6 from $6.75, while also cutting its dividend forecast for next year by 35% to 36 cent per share annualized from 56 cents per share.

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Analysts at the firm believe that the company will lower its capex program spending guidance of $840 million in addition to lowering its dividend payout as a result of lowered commodity prices as the price of a barrel of oil continues to fall.

"The company is relatively more leveraged than its peers and has no oil production hedged for 2015; Penn West is targeting additional asset sales that would strengthen the balance sheet but may have difficulty selling low cash flow generating assets in the current commodity price environment. We believe the market for oil and gas assets has shifted in favour of the buyers," said the firm.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD (PWE) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, 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 feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."

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

  • PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD swung to a loss, reporting -$1.77 versus $0.37 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 144.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $34.00 million to -$15.00 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 49.25%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 142.85% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • PWE, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 6.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.6%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PWE Ratings Report
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