We love underdogs. In that vein, we've pinpointed two battered energy stocks that are rebounding at a furious clip. Below, we also reveal an ingenious investment method that makes money regardless of the market's gyrations or economic conditions.
After losing nearly about 16% in 2015, Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) shares are up about 27% so far in 2016. Meanwhile, shares of Continental Resources (CLR - Get Report) have shot up a whopping 91% this year after plummeting in late 2014 and during 2015.
Let's look in more detail at these two undervalued opportunities.
Halliburton is a leader in the North American oilfield-services market. Pressure pumping is its forte. The slump in crude oil, lingering low natural gas prices, reduction in drilling activity and excess supply in the pressure-pumping market left an indelible mark on Halliburton stock.
Halliburton's revenue slumped to $23.63 billion in 2015 from $32.87 billion in 2014. The bottom line crashed to a net loss of $671 million in 2015 from net income of $3.50 billion in 2014. This was the company's first annual loss in at least a decade. Halliburton's failed attempt to acquire Baker Hughes stung even more.
But the oil price recovery has meant that Halliburton has gained favor. Unlike its bigger and more vulnerable rival Schlumberger, which is deeply indebted and burdened with significant exposure to slumping international markets, Halliburton is mostly reliant on North America, which enjoys a relatively stronger economy than the rest of the world. With a clearer path for oil production growth in 2017-2018 now visible, the U.S. onshore market is likely to drive production growth. In this environment, the right U.S. energy stocks can be your ticket to long-term capital appreciation.
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Besides its sizable exposure to the U.S. onshore market, Halliburton can benefit from drilling and uncompleted wells inventory, which will be the first to be put in use once things change. With the company's competitive advantages intact and its edge in logistics infrastructure, investors expect Halliburton to produce higher margins than peers.
If drilling and completion activity witnesse a moderate recovery in 2017-2018, Halliburton will roar ahead and become a growth winner in 2016.
Analysts are estimating an 18% revenue increase in 2017 and a rebound in adjusted earnings per share.
More rigs need to go back to work when crude oil is priced at $50-$55 a barrel. With prices of $60-$65 oil being talked about regularly, a material recovery in spending will hold Halliburton in good stead. At an enterprise value-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ratio (EV/EBITDA) of only 12.5, Halliburton may be poised for even better days.
2. Continental Resources
Oil and natural gas producer Continental Resources originally was focusing on natural gas in Oklahoma but shifted to looking for oil in 2007. Projects in North Dakota and Montana helped it do well. It grew annual sales nine fold between 2007 and 2014, but then the slump came.
In 2016, what has helped the company and the stock to recover are STACK leases. Also, the company's strategy of increasing production in Oklahoma has paid off so far.
The company has significant advantages in shale production. Continental boasts about having core assets that sport among the lowest break-even levels in the country.
The first quarter was awful for oil companies, as crude oil prices hit super-low levels. Here's the thing, though: While some other energy companies are gasping for air because they had taken on too much debt during boom times, Continental Resources has a solid balance sheet, as this Motley Fool article notes.
Also noteworthy is that Continental has returned to some of its fracking wells in the Bakken region that it had put on hold.
If West Texas Intermediate hits $70 a barrel by the end of 2016, this would be great news for Continental Resources. With Continental having demonstrated strong operational credentials in shale, the stock has benefited from the confidence that investors will be rewarded as oil production recovers.
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