Analyst Upgrade Could Boost This Beaten Down Energy Concern

| About: Noble Corporation (NE)

The commodity and energy sectors and the firms that serve them have been taken out and shot over the last few weeks. Falling oil prices, concerns about slowing worldwide growth and the mess in Europe have all contributed to a negative sentiment in these cyclical areas. Many stocks have sold off 10% to 40% over the last month. One oil service sector stock is down some 15% since the beginning of May, but looks cheap and is starting to get some notice in the analyst community. It is Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE).

Positive catalysts for Noble

  • Macquarie just upgraded the shares to "Outperform" and raised its price target to $44 from $39.
  • It does not have the litigation headaches of two of its prime competitors, Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) around spills in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Brazil.
  • Consensus estimates for FY2013 have moved up in the last month even as the stock was falling.

4 other reasons Noble is a solid buy at $33 a share:

  • The stock is cheap at under 8 times forward earnings and just 11% over book value.
  • Analysts expect over 35% revenue growth in FY2012 and around a 20% increase in revenues in FY2012.
  • Insiders have not sold a share in over a year, the stock yields 1.5% and Noble has an A- rated balance sheet.
  • The stock is some 40% below the median analysts' price target of $46 for the 32 analysts that cover the stock.

Disclosure: I am long HAL, RIG.