Some big oil firms, notably EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) and Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR), have posted big gains in the second quarter, and a growing legion of analysts are beginning to tout both stocks as having big growth potential for the rest of the year.
Continental Resources is currently trading at $70 per share with a one-year average target estimate of $85 per share, according to Thomson Financial ’s most recent survey of analysts.
At first glance Wall Street wasn’t waving pom-poms over CLR’s Q2 performance but a step back revealed a stock that’s ready to pop, according to energy market watchers.
On CNBC’s Mad Money , stock maven Jim Cramer said that Continental sellers may have jumped the gun too early -- even though earnings for the quarter were down about $30 million from what analysts had estimated.
Though the stock lost traction the morning after the earnings number came out, Cramer said sellers moved too fast. “If you just took a deeper look at this quarter, you would have realized that selling the stock was a mistake,” he noted, “There are more important metrics here, like production.”
But the stock rebounded quickly on Aug. 10, with Cramer pointing to a report from CLR that stated the company boosted its one-year production growth forecast to 58% and said it could increase reserves by another 20%. Altogether, Continental pegs production growth at 76% for the quarter, a surefire sign, Cramer says, that the oil company is set to build on the upward share price climb it’s seen since Aug. 2, when the stock was trading at $62 per share.
That said, Cramer’s not saying the growth would be quick – and neither is anyone else on Wall Street.
“Yes, Continental Resources increased its production numbers 58% year-over-year,” says Ben Dickey , a Houston-based money manager at BSG&L Financial Services. “One reason, short sighted I believe, is that they approved a $3 billion capital budget for this year.
“Their free cash flow will be approximately $1.8 billion, thus taking on debt, which is also very short-sighted.”
But Dickey says CLR is one of his firm’s core holdings and should remain so. “As each quarter’s earnings come out and production increases, their share price should appreciate,” he says.
Another big energy provider, Dickey says, has a similar story to tell -- EOG Resources.
“EOG is like Continental. They are greatly