Positive Utica Results Powers Upgrades To These 2 Energy Stocks

Includes: GPOR, REXX
by: Bret Jensen

The market is finally going through what feels like a meaningful pull back to start the second quarter after more than four months of a continuous and pretty much drama free rally. I think it is time to make a shopping list to take advantage of any further pull back. I will be looking to add to my allocation to domestic energy concerns if this downdraft continues. The United States is still going through a significant ramp up of domestic energy production. In addition, M&A activity is picking up in the space and new shale regions are experiencing some of the same gains in production on a percentage basis as the much talked about Bakken shale region. Two energy stocks that had their price target raised substantially because of their operations in the Utica shale Wednesday look interesting here.

Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) is an independent oil & gas company. The company's principal properties are located along the Louisiana Gulf Coast; in the Utica Shale, eastern Ohio; in the Niobrara Formation, northwestern Colorado; and in the Bakken Formation, western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

4 reasons GPOR has upside from $44 a share:

  1. Stern Agee bumped its price target from $60 to $80 on the shares. Analyst Tim Rezvan stated "Our analysis suggests shares do not reflect the likelihood of 100-acre spacing or 2 mmboe EUR wells in the Utica Shale. After analyzing Gulfport's Utica production and liquidity outlook, we increase 2014E EBITDA by 29% to $936 million".
  2. Before the price target raise at Stern Agee, the median price target by the 16 analysts that cover the stock was $57 a share. Credit Suisse has an "Outperform" rating on the shares and recently moved its price target to $60 from $57.
  3. Analysts also expect better than 90% revenue growth in FY2013 before more than doubling again in FY2014. The stock sports a five year projected PEG of under 1 (.87).
  4. The company has consistently grown its operating cash flow which is up more than 110% over the last two completed fiscal years.

Rex Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:REXX) produces oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company focuses on the Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale, and Upper Devonian Shale.

4 reasons REXX is a good growth play at just over $15 a share:

  1. Oppenheimer raised its price target to $19 from $16 a share Wednesday while maintaining its "Outperform" rating on the stock. Analyst Daniel Katzenberg commented that "With attractive liquids growth and high leverage to the Utica shale, we anticipate REXX shares will outperform the peer group over the next 12 months. Our adjusted estimates reflect updated company guidance, hedges and oil & gas futures prices"
  2. Another fast growing energy concern, analysts expect Rex to increase revenue at better than a 45% CAGR over the next two fiscal years. The stock sports a minuscule five year projected PEG (.53).
  3. The company has beat earnings estimates each of the last two quarters and consensus earnings estimates for both FY2013 and FY2014 have ticked up over the past three months.
  4. With its small market capitalization (Just over $1B including debt), robust production growth and desirable assets; it could make a logical acquisition candidate for a bigger player.

Disclosure: I am long GPOR. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.