Mid-Con Energy Partners, LP (NASDAQ:MCEP) is a Dallas, Texas-based producer of oil and natural gas. It is focused on properties in the Mid-Continent region of the United States and core areas of operation are located in Southern Oklahoma, Northeastern Oklahoma and Colorado. While many dividend stocks are now trading at or near 52-week highs, there are still a few with upside potential and this stock appears to be one of them. Not only do analysts expect this stock to rise, but it also offers a generous dividend yield of nearly 9%. Here is a closer look at why this stock makes sense for investors to consider now:
1) This is an ideal stock for income investors because the company is focused on paying quarterly distributions to shareholders and raising it when possible. The company has a strong commitment to this goal and it states: "Our primary business objective is to generate stable cash flow, which will allow us to make quarterly cash distributions to our unitholders at the initial quarterly distribution rate and, over time, to increase our quarterly cash distributions."
2) Income investors might not be worried about inflation now, but it could be a concern in the future. With central banks around the world engaging in loose money policies and stimulus programs, there is a strong chance that it will become an issue in the future. Investors who stay in fixed income assets like bonds and money market accounts are likely to earn very little. Bondholders could even lose money if inflation causes interest rates to jump. However, those who invest in energy stocks could benefit from future inflation as hard assets like oil and natural gas can rise with inflation. This can lead to stronger profits for energy companies which often lead to dividend increases and a higher share price.
3) Analysts at Stephens just gave this stock an "overweight" rating and set a $26 price target. Positive analyst coverage can lead to increased investor demand and a higher share price. With this stock now trading around $22, a rise to $26 would give investors a solid gain of nearly 20% from capital appreciation. Plus the stock pays a major dividend while investors wait for a higher share price.
4) Mid-Con Energy Partners has announced it will report third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It reported solid results last quarter with adjusted EBITDA of $10.7 million, compared with $6.2 million in the second quarter of 2011. Net income was $22.4 million, or $1.24 per limited partner unit, for the second quarter of 2012. (This includes $14.5 million of unrealized gains from commodity derivatives.)
Investors should consider that Mid-Con Energy faces the typical risks that most oil and gas companies are exposed to, some of which include exploration and drilling risks, and litigation, to name a couple. The biggest risk would appear to be a significant and prolonged drop in the price of oil. If oil were to drop below $65 per barrel due to a recession or a financial crisis, it would certainly have a negative impact on most energy companies and it could even cause dividend cuts. However, this company has a solid balance sheet with just about $58 million in debt and that reduces dividend cut and other risks for investors.
Here are some key points for MCEP:
Current share price: $21.03
The 52-week range is $17.25 to $25.18
Earnings estimates for fiscal year 2012: $1.78 per share
Earnings estimates for fiscal year 2013: $2.02 per share
Annual dividend: $1.94 per share, which yields nearly 9%
Data sourced from Yahoo Finance. No guarantees or representations
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. 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.
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