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Interested in oil & gas drilling stocks? To help give you ideas where to look, we focused today on companies with strong profits. We narrowed our search to companies that analysts have rated 'Strong Buy' recently. You might be interested in the list we came up with.

Return on Assets [ROA] illustrates how much a company is generating in earnings from its assets alone. This metric gives investors a picture of how profitable the company is relative to the assets in current possession. As well, it lets investors see how efficient and effective management is at generating earnings from the company's assets. While most management teams can probably make money by throwing money at an issue very few can make very large profits with little investment.

The Net Margin is a profitability metric that illustrates, by percentage, how much of every dollar earned gets turned into a bottom line profit. This is just one of many profitability metrics used by investors and analysts to better understand what the company is being left with at the end of the day. Generally, a firm that can expand its net profit margins over a period of time will see its stock price rise as well due to the trend of increasing profitability. Net Margin = Net Income/Total Revenue

We first looked for oil & gas stocks. We then looked for businesses with strong profitability (ROA > 10%)(Net Margin [TTM]>10%). We next screened for businesses that analysts rate as "Buy" or "Strong Buy" (mean recommendation < 3). We did not screen out any market caps.

Do you think these stocks have a positive future in store? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

1) Linn Energy, LLC (NASDAQ:LINE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$7.28B
Beta:0.72

Linn Energy, LLC has a Return on Assets of 11.24%, a Net Margin of 41.79%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.60. The short interest was 1.03% as of 06/06/2012. Linn Energy, LLC, an independent oil and natural gas company, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and gas properties. The company's properties are primarily located in the Mid-Continent, the Permian Basin, Michigan, California, and the Williston Basin in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, it had proved reserves of 3,370 billion cubic feet equivalent of oil and gas, and natural gas liquids, as well as operated 7,759 gross productive wells.

2) Rosetta Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROSE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$2.09B
Beta:2.15

Rosetta Resources, Inc. has a Return on Assets of 10.59%, a Net Margin of 24.13%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.40. The short interest was 6.37% as of 06/06/2012. Rosetta Resources Inc., an independent exploration and production company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of onshore oil and gas resources in the United States. It owns producing and non-producing oil and gas properties located primarily in South Texas, including the Eagle Ford, and in the Southern Alberta Basin in Northwest Montana. As of December 31, 2011, the company had an estimated 965 billion cubic feet equivalent of proved reserves, including 36,370 million barrels of oil, 50,219 million barrels of natural gas liquids, and 446 billion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as drilled 53 net wells.

3) Baytex Energy Corp. (NYSE:BTE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$5.24B
Beta:1.57

Baytex Energy Corp. has a Return on Assets of 10.54%, a Net Margin of 22.65%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.20. The short interest was 0.50% as of 06/06/2012. Baytex Energy Corp., an oil and gas company, engages in the acquisition, development, and production of oil and natural gas in the western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and the United States. It offers heavy oil, light oil, and natural gas liquids. As of December 31, 2011, the company had proved plus probable reserves of approximately 252 million barrels of oil equivalent.

4) Gulfport Energy Corp. (NASDAQ:GPOR)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$1.07B
Beta:2.42

Gulfport Energy Corp. has a Return on Assets of 20.10%, a Net Margin of 46.00%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.80. The short interest was 5.97% as of 06/06/2012. Gulfport Energy Corporation engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties. Its principal properties are located in the Louisiana Gulf Coast, in west Texas in the Permian Basin and in western Colorado in the Niobrara Formation. The company also holds acreage position in the Alberta oil sands in Canada; and interests in entities that operate in southeast Asia, including the Phu Horm gas field in Thailand, as well as leasehold interests in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio. As of December 31, 2011, it had 19.

5) Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLR)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$12.93B
Beta:1.80

Continental Resources Inc. has a Return on Assets of 11.51%, a Net Margin of 30.53%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.40. The short interest was 9.30% as of 06/06/2012. Continental Resources, Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas primarily in the north, south, and east regions of the United States. The company primarily sells its oil and natural gas production to end users, as well as to midstream marketing companies or oil refining companies at the lease. As of December 31, 2011, its estimated proved reserves were 508.

6) Callon Petroleum Co. (NYSE:CPE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$172.75M
Beta:2.47

Callon Petroleum Co. has a Return on Assets of 31.80%, a Net Margin of 75.79%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.80. The short interest was 3.62% as of 06/06/2012. Callon Petroleum Company engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas properties. The company's properties are located in the Permian Basin in west Texas; the Haynesville Shale in northern Louisiana; and the Gulf of Mexico. As of December 31, 2011, its estimated net proved reserves totaled 15.9 million barrel of oil equivalent, including 10.

7) QR Energy, LP (NYSE:QRE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$760.81M
Beta:-

QR Energy, LP has a Return on Assets of 12.76%, a Net Margin of 38.22%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.40. The short interest was 0.42% as of 06/06/2012. QR Energy, LP, through its subsidiary, QRE Operating, LLC, engages in the acquisition, exploitation, development, and production of onshore crude oil and natural gas properties in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, its properties consisted of working interests in 3,867 gross producing wells located in Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, southwestern Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama. It also had estimated net proved reserves of 34.

8) Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ:AXAS)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$264.99M
Beta:1.54

Abraxas Petroleum Corp. has a Return on Assets of 11.38%, a Net Margin of 36.59%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.40. The short interest was 21.21% as of 06/06/2012. Abraxas Petroleum Corporation, an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, development, exploration, and production of oil and gas in the United States and Canada. Its oil and gas assets are primarily located in the Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, as well as in the province of Alberta, Canada. As of December 31, 2010, the company's estimated net proved reserves were 26.6 million barrels of oil equivalent.

9) CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE:CEO)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$80.93B
Beta:1.43

CNOOC Ltd. has a Return on Assets of 20.00%, a Net Margin of 29.16%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.30. The short interest was 0.32% as of 06/06/2012. CNOOC Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, production, and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products. Its oil and natural gas properties are located in offshore China, which include Bohai Bay, western South China Sea, eastern South China Sea, and East China Sea, as well as in Indonesia, Iraq, other regions in Asia, Australia, Nigeria, Uganda, the United States of America, Canada, and Argentina. As of December 31, 2011, the company had net proved reserves of approximately 3.19 billion barrels-of-oil equivalent.

*Company profiles were sourced from Finviz. Financial data was sourced from Finviz and Yahoo Finance.

Source: 9 Profitable Oil & Gas Drillers Backed By Analysts