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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Oct 26, 2021
Schlumberger Recovering, Outlook Bright
Image Shown: Shares of Schlumberger NV are on the upswing, though the company’s stock price remains far below levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 22, the oilfield services giant Schlumberger NV reported third-quarter 2021 earnings that missed consensus top-line estimates and matched consensus bottom-line estimates. The company’s business continues to recover as oil & gas investment activity is picking up steam around the globe after getting decimated last year in the face of the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. Looking ahead, Schlumberger expects significant improvement in its mid-cycle financial performance from current levels, aided by major cost structure improvements embarked on last year.
Sep 21, 2021
Booming Natural Gas Prices Great News for Chevron and ExxonMobil
Image Shown: Chevron Corporation – August 2021 IR Presentation. Natural gas prices in the US measured by the Henry Hub benchmark based in Erath, Louisiana, have surged higher over the past several months. This is partially due to the slowdown in domestic oil & gas development activity that occurred back in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus (‘COVID-19’) pandemic and low crude oil prices. Though crude oil prices, measured by the domestic WTI and international Brent benchmarks, have since recovered, that has not resulted in domestic drilling activity returning to levels seen in 2019, though development activity has recovered somewhat. Henry Hub futures are trading north of $5 per million British thermal units (‘MMBtu’) through February 2022 as of this writing, dropping just below $5 per MMBtu for March 2022 deliveries.
Aug 17, 2021
ExxonMobil Continues to Optimize Its Asset Base
Image Source: ExxonMobil Corporation – Second Quarter of 2021 IR Earnings Presentation. According to Reuters, ExxonMobil Corp is in the process of divesting its Fayetteville shale play position in Arkansas, which ExxonMobil’s spokeswoman Julie King confirmed according to the news outlet. This is an upstream asset focused on the extraction of natural gas from the ground via “fracking” techniques (combing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to unlock raw energy resources from the ground).
Jun 24, 2021
Energy: A Small Part of the S&P 500 But Making a Comeback
Image Source: Bureau of Land Management. The energy sector is now a small part of the S&P 500, but improving energy resource pricing has enhanced the merits of many in the space, namely the dividend growth and income prospects at ExxonMobil and Chevron. Both companies offer investors dividend yields north of 5%, and both have experienced tremendous improvements in free cash flow generation thanks in part to more prudent capital spending. We’ll be looking to add both to the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio on any market breather. We like the risk/reward opportunity.
Jan 13, 2021
Surveying the Clean Energy Landscape for Ideas
Image Source: American Electric Power Company Inc (AEP) – January 2021 IR Presentation. There’s a lot of interest in clean energy these days! Though our favorite ideas within a portfolio context are always the ideas within the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio, the Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio, the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio, and the Exclusive publication, we also highlight interesting ideas via our articles that we publish on our website. In this article, let’s dig deep into the clean energy space. We’ll talk more about 1) Ameresco (AMRC), one of the green energy ideas we highlighted in the past that has performed incredibly well, 2) NextEra (NEE), a large utility “family” to keep an eye on (a utility firm and a merchant power spinoff), 3) First Solar (FSLR), a US-based manufacturer of solar panels, and 4) various alternative fuel and power storage companies, including Clean Energy Fuels Corp (CLNE) and Gevo Inc (GEVO). The recently-passed omnibus spending package in the US included significant funds to support various alternative and renewable energy activities. For example, the production tax credit for wind farms was extended for one year while the investment tax credit for solar plants was extended by two years. This is a major benefit for both manufacturers of solar modules and wind turbines along with the utility firms (XLU) that would own/operate such assets. Looking ahead, we expect that the US federal government will be very accommodative toward the green energy space as President-elect Biden and the incoming US Congress (which will be controlled by the Democratic Party) will likely step up federal investments in the space (such as subsidies, low or no interest loans, favorable procurement contracts, and other considerations). The share prices of various solar companies are on the rise as witnessed through the performance of funds such as Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) surging higher of late, while the impressive price performance of iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN) showcases the widespread nature of investor excitement toward almost all green energy oriented firms. Other securities in this realm include ALPS Clean Energy ETF (ACES) and SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF (CNRG).
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.
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 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 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.
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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.