NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) are gaining, up 1.24% to $87.67 in pre-market trading Monday, after the multinational oil and gas company had its rating raised to "market perform" from "underperform" at BMO Capital Markets this morning.
Analysts at BMO also raised their price target to $95 from $85 on shares of Exxon Mobil.
The firm noted that "although the stock looks expensive versus peers, the defensive nature of the company during what we believe will remain a weak period for most of 2015 leads us to increase the rating."
BMO added that as oil prices continue to decline with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries refusing to defend prices, the firm believes that it may be some time before any supply response moves the market back into balance and brent finds a bottom.
BMO analysts lowered their 2015 oil price forecast by 33% to $67 per barrel.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates EXXON MOBIL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate EXXON MOBIL CORP (XOM) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- EXXON MOBIL CORP has improved earnings per share by 5.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EXXON MOBIL CORP reported lower earnings of $7.37 versus $9.70 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.63 versus $7.37).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 2.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $7,870.00 million to $8,070.00 million.
- XOM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.12 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that XOM's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.55, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: XOM Ratings Report