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Are you interested in investing in only the 'cream of the crop' oil and gas companies? Today we focus on oil and gas companies with strong profitability and that were given a vote of confidence by oil and gas industry analysts. We think you'll like the list of stocks we've uncovered.

EPS growth (earnings per share growth) illustrates the growth of earnings per share over time. EPS growth rates help investors identify stocks that are increasing or decreasing in profitability. This profitability metric is generally a key driver in the price of the stock as it directly correlates to the profitability of the company as a whole.

Return on Equity [ROE] is one way to identify great potential names relative to profitability. This ratio illustrates the percentage return on shareholder equity. As well, this metric segments the company into operational efficiency, asset use efficiency, and financial leverage. Why does this matter? Simply put, it allows investors to get a real picture of how the company is generating these returns and helps identify parts of the company that may be underperforming.

We first looked for oil & gas stocks. We then looked for companies that analysts rate as "Buy" or "Strong Buy" (mean recommendation < 3). Note that 1 is the highest analyst rating possible. Next, we then screened for businesses that have shown strong bottom line growth over the last year (1-year fiscal EPS growth rate>10%)(ROE [TTM]>30%). We did not screen out any market caps.

Do you think these stocks have more value to price in? Use our screened list as a starting point for your own analysis.

1) Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLR)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$12.71B
Beta:1.80

Continental Resources Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.40, a Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 142.92%, and a Return on Equity of 30.90%. The short interest was 9.30% as of 06/10/2012. 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.

2) Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ:AXAS)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$280.68M
Beta:1.54

Abraxas Petroleum Corp. has a Analysts' Rating of 1.40, a Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 551.46%, and a Return on Equity of 48.22%. The short interest was 21.21% as of 06/10/2012. 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.

3) Isramco, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRL)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$245.37M
Beta:1.00

Isramco has an Analysts' Rating of 1.00, a Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 364.84%, and a Return on Equity of 82.63%. The short interest was 4.50% as of 06/10/2012. Isramco, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, development, production, and exploration of onshore oil and natural gas properties in the United States. It owns various working interests in oil and gas wells in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado; and operates approximately 589 wells principally in Texas and New Mexico.

4) Callon Petroleum Co. (NYSE:CPE)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$169.20M
Beta:2.47

Callon Petroleum Co. has a Analysts' Rating of 1.80, a Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 848.83%, and a Return on Equity of 69.01%. The short interest was 3.62% as of 06/10/2012. 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.

5) Stone Energy Corp. (NYSE:SGY)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Independent Oil & Gas
Market Cap:$1.17B
Beta:2.82

Stone Energy Corp. has a Analysts' Rating of 1.60, a Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 99.62%, and a Return on Equity of 34.35%. The short interest was 8.90% as of 06/10/2012. Stone Energy Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation, development, and operation of oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico and the Appalachia region. As of December 31, 2011 it had estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves of approximately 602 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana with additional offices in New Orleans, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; and Morgantown, West Virginia..

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

Source: 5 Profitable Oil And Gas Stocks With Positive Analyst Attention