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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Jan 11, 2021
Energy Sector In Shambles, Looks to Recover But Headwinds Persist
Image Source: ConocoPhillips – November 2019 Analyst and Investor Meeting IR Presentation. Though raw energy resource pricing is on the rebound, the outlook for the oil and gas industry remains stressed. Global demand for oil and related refined petroleum products remains subdued due to headwinds generated by the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. The OPEC+ oil cartel has responded by pledging to keep a significant amount of oil output off the market for an extended time. However, raw energy resource prices need to go much higher and be sustained at elevated levels before the space could become attractive from a longer-term perspective. In our view, the US upstream industry (specifically those in the shale patch) need WTI to move and stay north of $60 per barrel to be in a position to generate meaningful free cash flow while also investing enough to maintain their production bases. We think the dividends at the oil majors may be at risk, even Exxon’s, and we include two high-risk midstream stocks in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio to capture a relatively benign risk-reward scenario when it comes to their respective yields. We maintain a cautious view on the MLP business model, more generally, however. For now, we are keeping a close eye on the energy sector considering things are slowly moving in the right direction. However, given the collapse in raw energy resources pricing witnessed during the first half of 2020, the industry still has a long way to go before it is out of the woods, so to speak.
Dec 31, 2020
2020 Won’t Soon Be Forgotten
2020 won’t soon be forgotten. The tumultuous year brought with it the greatest shock to the U.S. economy in modern history, ushering in the largest-ever decline in U.S. real annualized gross domestic product of 31.4% in the second quarter of the year (surpassing the prior record of a 28.6% collapse in the second quarter of 1921). Strict lockdowns to help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 created the biggest global health emergency in a century, driving a self-inflicted economic collapse worse than the Great Recession, the Great Depression, and any other recession before it (the Depression of 1873-1879, the Panic of 1893, etc.). Millions were put out of work. During the month of April alone, the economy lost a record 20.8 million jobs, with some estimating that the “real” unemployment rate during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis reached nearly 23%. The official 14.7% unemployment rate in April would obliterate prior post-World War II era records, and while it fell short of the peak Great Depression unemployment rate estimated at 24.9%, the pain of many families and households was no less severe as they battled both a financial and health crisis that materialized in a matter of weeks, with little lead time to prepare for what was to come. Pantry stuffing and panic buying of consumer goods became a sign of the times, and a great debate about the efficacy of wearing masks raged across mediums.
Nov 25, 2020
Thinking Slow: 3 Research Blind Spots That Changed the Investment World
Image Source: EpicTop10.com. We have to be on high alert about how our minds work. PBS is premiering a four-part series examining about how easily our minds are being hacked, and why it is so important to "think slow." Tune in (5). When it comes to the active versus passive debate, does the analysis suffer from parameter risk? With respect to empirical, evidence-based analysis, does the analysis have the entire construct wrong? When it comes to short-cut multiples, are we falling into the behavioral trap of thinking on autopilot?
Nov 17, 2020
Chevron’s Forward-Looking Dividend Coverage is Becoming Stressed
Image Shown: Chevron Corporation reduced its capital expenditure expectations a couple of times this year, though that still has not enabled the firm to generate meaningful free cash flows given the various headwinds facing its businesses. Image Source: Chevron Corporation – November 2020 IR Presentation. On October 30, Chevron Corp reported third quarter earnings for 2020. As expected, it was a brutal report from Chevron. The ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic decimated global energy demand and severely weakened raw energy resources pricing at a time when refining margins are quite weak. This double whammy saw Chevron post a $0.2 billion GAAP net loss in the third quarter of 2020 as its revenues tanked.
Nov 15, 2020
Exxon Mobil’s Weak Forward-Looking Dividend Coverage is Very Concerning
Image Source: Exxon Mobil Corporation – Third Quarter of 2020 IR Earnings Presentation. Exxon Mobil Corp has contended with enormous headwinds so far in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, and that has put its dividend at risk. Over the past couple of years, the company has come nowhere close to generating enough free cash flow to cover its dividend obligations. Exxon Mobil’s forward-looking dividend coverage appears quite weak and the company is currently leaning heavily on debt markets to keep making good on those obligations. As of this writing, shares of XOM yield ~9.7% as investors are increasingly pricing in the chance for a meaningful payout cut.
Nov 4, 2020
Our Thoughts on Magellan Midstream’s Latest Earnings
Image Shown: Keeping the many headwinds facing the energy infrastructure space in mind, Magellan Midstream Partners LP remains one of our favorite midstream master limited partnerships. Image Source: Magellan Midstream Partners LP – October 2020 IR Presentation. On October 30, Magellan Midstream Partners reported third quarter 2020 earnings that beat both top- and bottom-line consensus estimates. The midstream master limited partnership (‘MLP’) space has faced enormous headwinds due to the ongoing coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic, though the firm was still able to generate sizable free cash flows during the first nine months of 2020. Magellan Midstream is a modestly-weighted holding in the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio, and as of this writing, units of MMP yield ~11.1%. Though that yield is quite high, given that the firm’s free cash flows should grow significantly going forward, we are optimistic the firm will be able to continue making good on its payout obligations for the time being.
Oct 26, 2020
Our Reports on Stocks in the Oil and Gas Complex Industry
Our reports on stocks in the Oil and Gas Complex industry can be found in this article. Reports include BKR, HAL, SLB, BP, CVX, COP, XOM, RDS, TOT, COG, EOG, OXY, PXD, ENB, ET, EPD, MMP, KMI, PSX.
Oct 20, 2020
ConocoPhillips Is Buying Concho Resources
Image Shown: An overview of the pro forma asset base of ConocoPhillips and Concho Resources Inc. Please note that Concho Resources’ main operations are in the Permian Basin in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, a region that ConocoPhillips seeks to grow its exposure to. ConocoPhillips has an expansive upstream portfolio with operations worldwide, though its North American position is set to become a much larger part of its company-wide profile. Image Source: ConocoPhillips – ConocoPhillips & Concho Resources Transaction Announcement IR Presentation. On October 19, ConocoPhillips announced it was acquiring Concho Resources through an all-stock deal. If the deal goes through as planned, each share of CXO will be exchanged for 1.46 shares of COP, and as the press release notes, this represents “a 15 percent premium to closing share prices on October 13.” However, please keep in mind shares of CXO have fallen by roughly two thirds since October 2018 as of this writing, indicating ConocoPhillips is really not paying much of a premium for Concho Resources.
Oct 15, 2020
Our Thoughts on the Potential Acquisition of Concho Resources by ConocoPhillips
Image Source: ConocoPhillips – November 2019 Annual & Investor Meeting Presentation. According to Bloomberg, the super-independent ConocoPhillips is currently talking with Concho Resources about acquiring the company. We do not expect that such a deal will come with a significant premium, and furthermore, and we expect that such a deal will likely be funded with equity. Our reasoning is underpinned by recent M&A activity in the oil patch, such as the all-stock acquisition of Noble Energy by Chevron Corporation through a ~$5 billion deal that was completed in early-October. That deal involved Chevron paying a ~12% premium (based on ten-day average closing stock prices) at the time of the announcement, though please note shares of Noble Energy had cratered beforehand indicating that Chevron did not have to pay up for the company. Noble Energy, like Concho Resources, also had a significant position in the Permian Basin (though its Mediterranean assets were Chevron’s main target, in our view). We covered that deal in great detail. As it concerns our view that ConocoPhillips would likely use equity instead of cash to acquire Concho Resources (should such a deal materialize), that is largely due to ConocoPhillips’ sizable net debt load at the end of June 2020 and its inability to generate meaningful free cash flows in the current pricing environment for raw energy resources. Additionally, Concho Resources had a net debt load at the end of June 2020 and is also unable to generate meaningful free cash flows in the current environment. The oil patch is contending with serious financial constraints and all-stock acquisitions/mergers with minimal premiums are likely going to continue being the norm for some time.
Oct 9, 2020
Dividend Increases/Decreases for the Week October 9
Let's take a look at companies that raised/lowered their dividend this week.
Latest Press Releases
The High Yield Dividend Newsletter, Best Ideas Newsletter, Dividend Growth Newsletter, Nelson Exclusive publication, and any reports, articles and content found on this website are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The sources of the data used on this website are believed by Valuentum to be reliable, but the data’s accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of its newsletters, reports, commentary, or publications and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Valuentum is not a money manager, is not a registered investment advisor and does not offer brokerage or investment banking services. Valuentum, its employees, and affiliates may have long, short or derivative positions in the stock or stocks mentioned on this site.