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The market, as measured by the S&P 500 index, continued its post-election slide last week due in large part to worries about the impacts of the looming combination of tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff." However, there was a late week rally due to reassurances that Congress would implement policies to prevent the country from falling off the cliff. There is some irony in this since the fiscal cliff itself was a response to the debt ceiling crisis in 2011. The S&P 500 index started off the week relatively flat but began to plunge midday Tuesday. This plunge continued through midday Friday when renewed hopes that the fiscal cliff would be resolved caused a sharp rally in the index. This rally was enough to deliver positive returns on Friday but was not able to erase the losses that were suffered earlier in the week. Oil prices, meanwhile, showed little correlation to the broad market index. WTI crude oil exhibited considerable volatility this week - in fact, I believe that it was one of the most volatile weeks that I have seen in the last two years but I have no evidence other than my own memory to confirm that. Overall, WTI crude prices were up on the week but there were so many very sharp rallies and corrections over the week that a skilled trader would have been in something resembling heaven. This market action had, as usual, different effects on the seven offshore drilling companies that I track in this weekly series.

Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) opened on Monday, November 12 at $39.07. The stock closed at $38.22 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Seadrill shareholders thus witnessed a loss of $0.85 or 2.18% over the past week. Seadrill opened at $41.26 on October 22, 2012. This gives the stock a trailing four-week loss of $3.04 per share or 7.37%. Seadrill purchased the Songa Eclipse on Friday for total consideration of $590 million. I discussed the purchase of this rig back when the company was considering it and came to the conclusion that this would be good for shareholders. This still appears to be the case. However, this will be more than offset by Seadrill's sale of its tender rig division will more than offset this. This move does further strengthen Seadrill's push into the ultra-deepwater arena which appears to be part of the motivation behind the sale of the tender rig division.

SDRL 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

SDRL 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Ensco (NYSE:ESV) opened at $55.93 on Monday, November 12. The stock closed at $54.53 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Shareholders thus suffered a loss of $1.40 or 2.50% over the past week. The stock opened at $59.05 on October 22. Stockholders in the company thus suffered a loss of $4.52 or 7.65% over the trailing four-week period. Stock ratings site TheStreet.com reiterated its BUY recommendation on Ensco stock, citing superior revenue and cash flow growth compared to peers.

ESV 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

ESV 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Transocean (NYSE:RIG) opened at $46.63 on Monday, November 12. The stock closed at $44.46 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Transocean's shareholders thus suffered a loss of $2.17 or 4.65% this week. The stock opened at $48.60 on October 22. This gives Transocean stock a loss of $4.14 or 8.52% over the trailing four-week period. Transocean reported on Tuesday that it has a massive revenue backlog of $30 billion. That secures the company's revenues for the next 15 quarters, according to Transocean's financial statement on Yahoo Finance.

RIG 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

RIG 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) opened at $65.27 on Monday, November 12. The stock closed at $64.81 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Shareholders of Diamond Offshore thus suffered a loss of $0.80 per share or 1.22% for the week. The stock opened at $70.16 on Monday, October 22. The stock thus had a trailing four-week loss of $5.35 per share or 7.63%. Diamond Offshore went ex-dividend on October 30. Shareholders as of the close of the market on the previous day will receive total dividends of $0.875 per share. This dividend effectively decreases the trailing four-week loss to $4.475 or 6.38%.

DO 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

DO 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) opened at $47.51 on Monday, November 12. The stock closed at $44.83 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. This gives the stock a loss of $2.68 per share or 5.64% for the week. Atwood opened at $49.28 on October 22. Thus, shareholders in the company suffered a loss of $4.45 or 9.03% over the trailing four-week period. Atwood Oceanics reported fourth quarter results after the closing bell on Thursday that absolutely crushed analysts' expectations. My fellow Seeking Alpha contributor believes that Atwood is a buy at a price under $48 due to its future growth prospects, which this latest earnings report highlights.

ATW 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

ATW 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Noble Corp (NYSE:NE) opened the week at $35.38 on November 12, 2012. The stock closed at $33.51 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Thus, shareholders suffered a loss of $1.87 per share or 5.29% for the week. Noble opened at $39.58 on October 22, 2012. Thus, the stock had a trailing four week loss of $6.07 or 18.11%. Noble went ex-dividend on Thursday, November 1. Shareholders as of the close of the market on the previous day will receive a dividend payment of approximately $0.13 per share. This dividend payment effectively decreases the loss over the trailing four-week period to $5.94 per share or 15.01%.

NE 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

NE 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

Pacific Drilling (NYSE:PACD) opened the week at $10.35 on November 12, 2012. The stock closed at $9.96 in after hours trading on Friday, November 16. Thus, shareholders suffered a loss of $0.39 per share or 3.77% for the week. Pacific Drilling opened at $10.18 on October 22, 2012. Thus, the stock had a trailing four week loss of $0.22 per share or 2.16%. Pacific Drilling announced on Thursday that it has secured a contract for the newbuild drillship Pacific Khamsin. This contract from Chevron (NYSE:CVX) carries maximum revenue of $527 million over a two year period in West Africa. That works out to $722k. This illustrates quite well the demand that currently exists in the market for modern drilling rigs such as the ones that Pacific Drilling owns. That could translate into growth for the company.

PACD 5-Day Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

PACD 4-Week Chart

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Source: Fidelity Investments

All seven of these companies delivered losses to investors over both the last week and the trailing four-week period. This could provide buying opportunities in many of these firms as offshore drilling companies are not likely to be particularly affected by the fiscal cliff and, in fact, the business continues to boom. Seadrill's recent contract for the West Mira and Pacific Drilling's contract for the Pacific Khamsin provide evidence for this. Nevertheless, all of these stocks did return a loss over the analyzed period. The best performer over the past week, meaning the stock with the smallest loss, was Diamond Offshore. The worst performer was Atwood Oceanics, although Noble was not far behind. The best performer over the trailing four-week period, meanwhile, was Pacific Drilling. Noble was the worst performer by a very large margin even after dividends are considered.

Source: Weekly Performance Update On 7 Offshore Drilling Stocks