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If you are looking to invest in oil stocks, Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) should be at the top of your list. The stock has had a minor run-up over the last few weeks, but I view this as a great opportunity to buy before the stock reaches $125.00/share.

Apache Incorporated operates as an independent energy company. It engages in the exploration, development, and production of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids (NGLS). The company has exploration and production interests in the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Coast, east Texas, the Permian basin, and the Anadarko basin in the United States; the Western Canada Sedimentary basin; and Egypt, offshore Western Australia, offshore the United Kingdom in the North Sea, and Argentina, as well as on the Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego.

Currently, Apache is trading at $96.80/share. The 52-week range is $73.04 - $134.13.

52wk high: 134.13
52wk low: 73.04
EPS: 10.27
PE: 9.40
Div Rate: 0.60
Yield: 0.619835
Market Cap: 37.18 B
Volume: 4.42 M

While there are other strong oil plays and investments available, Apache provides the biggest upside. If you are looking for a solid dividend, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) would be a better choice than Apache. However, Exxon is already near its 52-week high and takes a lot of time to realize gains. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) are solid companies, too, but do not represent value like Apache does.

Apache is a stock that should provide you with a quick return. There are many thing to like about Apache going forward and I would like to point those out in this article.

Apache currently has a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.42. The earnings-per-share is 10.28. Apache's market capitalization is $37.18 billion.

Income Statement
Revenue (TTM): 15.86B
Revenue Per Share : 41.51
Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy): 43.40%
Gross Profit : 9.88B
EBITDA 6: 11.93B
Net Income Avl to Common : 4.01B
Diluted EPS : 10.28
Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy): 28.80%
Balance Sheet
Total Cash (mrq): 586.00M
Total Cash Per Share (mrq): 1.53
Total Debt (mrq): 7.20B
Total Debt/Equity (mrq): 25.81
Current Ratio (mrq): 1.14
Book Value Per Share (mrq): 69.46
Cash Flow Statement
Operating Cash Flow : 9.10B
Levered Free Cash Flow : 2.52B

As you can see from the chart above, Apaches quarterly earnings growth is 28.8% (year over year).

Here is a closer look at analysts recommendations:

Price Target Summary

Mean Target: 129.86
Median Target: 128.50
High Target: 160.00
Low Target: 100.00
No. of Brokers: 22

11-Jan-12 Initiated Stifel Nicolaus Buy $115
05-Aug-11 Reiterated Barclays Capital Overweight $156 → $151
06-May-11 Reiterated Oppenheimer Outperform $130 → $150
03-May-11 Reiterated Oppenheimer Outperform $130 → $150
29-Mar-11 Reiterated Barclays Capital Overweight $142 → $156
24-Mar-11 Reiterated Howard Weil Market Outperform $135 → $138
08-Mar-11 Upgrade Argus Sell → Hold
06-Jan-11 Reiterated Ticonderoga Buy $130 → $145

Apache is still growing too. Recently, Apache Director William C. Montgomery has been purchasing shares of the company at an average cost basis of $87.37/share. He made three different purchases.

Apache makes up 8% of the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:IEO). I find statistics like this very compelling, when a specific company makes up a large portion of a fund.

I already own Apache long call options and will be adding to my position next week. If you are looking to initiate a position, I would recommend buying July 2012 $115.00 call options. These are reasonably priced and Apache should be trading well above this strike price by then.

Source: Apache Is Poised To Take Off