NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oversupply is still sinking oil prices. And this is causing the shares of energy companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM) to plummet to successive 52-week lows. While investors may salivate at how cheap Exxon stock is, it's not yet time to buy. And despite some signs that oil prices is ready to stabilize, things can still get worse.
Exxon stock closed Thursday at $87.58, down 0.42%. The Irving, Texas-based company, which reports fourth-quarter and full year earnings results Monday, has lost 5.27% of its value on the year to date. And while Exxon's stock performance hasn't swayed drastically from its peers, its performance lags both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (down 2.28%) and the S&P 500 (down 1.83%).
But here's the thing, while a weak oil price is the major headwind impacting energy companyies, Exxon will be hurt in one other way -- its exposure to Russia via Russian integrated oil company Rosneft (RNFTF) with which Exxon struck a deal in 2011 to explore Russia's Arctic waters. This joint venture was supposed to be Exxon's best long-term option to grow production and replenish what it pumps.
Because of U.S. and European imposed sanctions, the Arctic remains relatively undeveloped, hurting Exxon's ability to recover exploration costs which were estimated to exceed $3.2 billion. If not for a 1 billion-barrel discovery in the Kara Sea in September, Exxon and Rosneft would have little to show for their investments.
In December, Exxon and Rosneft terminated contracts for five service vessels that were contracted for the Arctic. In other words, it was an investment gone sour. And these failed expectations may creep into Exxon's results Monday in the form of charges or write-offs.
Not to mention Exxon's revenue and earnings results may also be hurt by the decline in the ruble. What will make Exxon's results gloomier will be the effect of the cost associated with developing and exploring the Arctic -- money that Exxon may have thrown away. And investors won't want to be near the stock when the results are announced.
On Monday, analysts expect December quarter earnings of $1.34 per share on revenue of $87.58 billion, representing year-over-year declines of 30% and 21%, respectively. Analysts expect full year earnings per share of $7.46, up 1%, on revenue of $413 billion, down 5.7%.
With earnings and revenue now trending in the wrong direction, Exxon will have to issue exceptional guidance to keep its shares from sinking further, especially since analysts are predicting oil prices may not bottom until around $40 per barrel.
This implies that oil prices can still decline 10% from current levels of around $44 per barrel. And that's too much risk to take amid a jittery market that seems ready to punish anything with poor fundamentals.
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 a few notable strengths, 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 reasonable valuation levels, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
You can view the full analysis from the report here: XOM Ratings Report