Sep. 10, 2014, 3:28 PM
- Energy stocks, especially refiners, are taking a beating following the latest EIA inventory report that said gasoline stockpiles rose by 2.4M barrels last week, helping send U.S. crude oil futures to 16-month lows (-1.2% to $91.61/bbl) and Brent crude to 17-month lows (-1.1% to $98.02).
- The report is bearish given the large increases in refined product inventories; "even though the crude drawdown was close to expectations, it seemed to disappoint," Again Capital's John Kilduff says.
- The EIA report followed the agency’s updated demand growth report issued yesterday and this morning’s release of OPEC’s report on the oil market; both see lower demand growth this year and next.
- Oil majors are mostly lower: XOM -0.6%, CVX -1.4%, COP -0.3%, but BP (+2.9%) and RDS.A (+1%) are higher.
- Refiners are hit hard: VLO -3.6%, PSX -1.5%, MPC -1.9%, HFC -2.5%, TSO -2.9%, WNR -4.1%, CVI -1.6%, ALJ -1.8%, PBF -3.5%, DK -1.8%, CLMT -1.8%.
- ETFs: USO, XLE, OIL, UCO, ERX, VDE, OIH, SCO, ERY, XOP, DIG, BNO, UGA, DTO, DBO, DUG, IYE, IEO, CRUD, PXE, USL, PXI, PXJ, DBE, FENY, UWTI, DWTI, DNO, RJN, RYE, FXN, SZO, OLO, JJE, DDG, ONG, RGRE, OLEM, TWTI, UBN
Jul. 28, 2014, 12:40 PM
- Refiner stocks are dropping, in line with the margin squeeze that could result from the drop in crude oil prices, Barron's Dimitra DeFotis writes.
- Rising violence in Libya continues to affect energy assets, but attempts for peace between Israel and the Palestinians over the weekend may be taking some of the risk out of energy markets; Brent prices are down nearly 1% to $107.76/bbl, narrowing the spread with West Texas crude, off 0.3% to $101.74.
- ALJ -3.3%, TSO -1.6%, WNR -0.9%, HFC -0.8%, VLO -0.6%, PSX -0.4%, MPC -0.2%.
Jun. 26, 2014, 3:33 PM
- Most refiners recover part of yesterday's big drop, which some say was an overreaction to the U.S. government move to allow two oil companies to export ultra-light crude oil for the first time: TSO +2.8%, VLO +2%, PSX +1%, CVI +0.7%, CLMT +0.7%, WNR +0.6%, MPC +0.2%, ALJ -1%, PBF -0.6%, HFC -0.3%.
- The death of U.S. refiners is "greatly exaggerated," Cowen analysts say: "The spirit of the law - that hydrocarbon liquids produced in the U.S. must be processed in the U.S. - remains in place, and permits for condensate exports do not constitute precedent for crude oil... We continue to see potential for a meaningful feedstock advantage for U.S. refiners emerging later in 2014."
- Ned Davis Research, however, thinks the news is "potentially game changing for refiners," since it signals a change in the government’s position on oil exports more broadly and noting that it is the export ban, plus inadequate pipeline infrastructure, that has fed recent refiner outperformance.
Jun. 25, 2014, 10:18 AM
- Refiners take a beating in early trading, as a lift of the ban on U.S. oil exports is expected to narrow the WTI-Brent spread, which could cause refiners' profits drop if they are forced to pay higher prices to compete with international buyers for U.S. crude.
- “We don’t think the current system needs to be changed,” Valero Energy tells Bloomberg.
- Yesterday's rulings gave Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD +2.6%) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD +1.4%) permission to ship ultralight oil to foreign buyers - a narrow ruling, but one that is likely to spark similar requests from other companies, and increase lobbying for a full lifting of the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil.
- Refining stocks are broadly lower: VLO -7.4%, PBF -5.8%, MPC -5.7%, WNR -5.5%, DK -5.4%, HFC -4.6%, ALDW -4.6%, TSO -3.8%, NTI -3.5%, PSX -2.9%, ALJ -2.7%, CVI -2.3%.
Apr. 30, 2014, 5:38 PM
Apr. 28, 2014, 12:45 PM
- Prices of U.S. crude grades such as West Texas Intermediate are starting to disconnect from Brent benchmark prices again, rebounding to ~$9/bbl two weeks after hitting a low for the year of less than $3.70.
- Stocks at the Cushing, Okla., hub have dropped by 16M barrels since late January but have jumped by 43M on the Gulf coast; overall, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories now stand at their highest level on record, according to Barclays.
- With the oil stuck there with nowhere to go, Gulf coast refiners can name their price - great for the likes of Valero Energy (VLO +1.9%), because they can then refine that oil into products such as gasoline that are allowable for export.
- Also today: PSX +0.9%, MPC +1.8%, HFC +0.7%, TSO +1.3%, CVI +0.9%, WNR +0.2%, PBF +1.1%, CLMT +2.3%, ALJ -1.2%.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, DTO, DBO, BNO, CRUD, USL, UWTI, DNO, DWTI, SZO, OLO, OLEM, TWTI
Feb. 28, 2014, 2:48 PM
- Refiners mostly continue to languish after shares were hammered yesterday as the Brent-WTI spread narrowed to its tightest level since last October.
- Credit Suisse isn't too excited about the near-term outlook; while March-April could see some widening of the spread given the transfer of inventory from Cushing to the Gulf, summer crude spreads should remain tight given as East of Rockies refineries ramp up for peak gasoline demand.
- On individual stocks, the firm says Western Refining (WNR -3%) and Phillips 66 (PSX +0.1%) should benefit from other businesses, while Tesoro (TSO +1.1%) could benefit from being recognized as a “Gulf Coast Refiner” but Delek US (DK -3.5%) needs to show signs of earnings improvement before it's worth buying.
- ETFs: XLE, ERX, OIH, VDE, ERY, DIG, DUG, XES, IYE, IEZ, PXJ, PXI, PSCE, FENY, FXN, RYE, DDG.
Feb. 27, 2014, 3:46 PM
- Oil refiners are getting hit today as Brent crude falls to its lowest price in more than a week on rising tensions in Ukraine, shrinking the premium to West Texas crude to the narrowest level since October.
- Given Ukraine’s location, the country's situation obviously will impact Brent more than WTI; meanwhile, WTI’s losses are limited after U.S. government data yesterday showed crude supplies at Cushing, Okla., declining to a four-month low.
- Phillips 66 (PSX -2.8%) has dropped 3.5% YTD, while Delek US (DK -5.3%) has plunged 17%, Valero (VLO -4.3%) has slipped 3.8%, Holly Frontier (HFC -3.1%) has fallen 8.2% and Marathon Petroleum (MPC -4.4%) is off 8.5% in 2014.
- Other decliners today: TSO -1.5%, ALJ -5.4%, WNR -4.2%, CVI -3.4%, CLMT -0.7%.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, DBO, DTO, BNO, CRUD, USL, DNO, UWTI, SZO, DWTI, OLO, OLEM, TWTI
Feb. 6, 2014, 9:45 AM
- Tesoro (TSO -4.8%) opens sharply lower after Q4 results missed estimates as a result of lower refining margins, higher stock-based pay and a loss related to the sale of a refinery.
- Operating income in the refining and retail segment fell to $152M vs. $406M for the year-earlier period, driven primarily by a weaker margin environment across all operating regions.
- Although TSO processed more crude oil and other feedstocks in the quarter, its gross refining margin fell to $9.45/bbl vs. $15.11 in Q4 2012.
- Manufacturing costs rose to $392M vs. $239M in the year-ago quarter.
- TSO suffered lower refining margins, especially in the core California region, but it's a positive that the company’s balance sheet remains strong with $1.2B in cash, Wells Fargo says.
Jan. 10, 2014, 2:40 PM
- Chevron's (CVX -1.9%) earnings guidance isn't impressing investors; it expects Q4 profit to be "comparable" with Q3 when it posted net income of $4.95B, but analyst consensus had estimated Q4 to come in at $5.69B.
- Unlike last year, when CVX’s refining business was a drag on earnings while its upstream business was strong, now refining is providing the boost - good news for Exxon Mobil (XOM +0.1%) and refiners, Morgan Stanley says.
- MS thinks most U.S. refiners will show a Q/Q improvement in capture rates, helping XOM more than CVX due to its significantly more absolute North American refining capacity; marketing margins also are improving sharply, a positive indicator for refiners with retail operations such as Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Tesoro (TSO), Phillips 66 (PSX), Western Refining (WNR) and Delek US (DK).
Jan. 8, 2014, 2:45 PM
- A potential collapse this year in domestic crude prices could push refiners higher, including Phillips 66 (PSX -0.3%) and PBF Energy (PBF +0.7%), Howard Weil says.
- "From a global perspective, macro [refining & marketing] dynamics are improving into ’14 with significant crude supply growth placing a theoretical ceiling on oil prices/feedstock costs while underlying demand growth remains intact, thereby supporting product prices," the firm writes.
- However, the firm endorses a slight tactical shift toward more defensive posturing with a focus on lower beta names and companies that screen at a discount from a valuation perspective, thus it cuts Delek US (DK -3.4%) and Tesoro (TSO -2%) to Sector Perform and raises PSX and PBF to Sector Outperform.
- Noble Energy (NBL -0.2%), Whiting Petroleum (WLL -0.2%) and Concho Resources (CXO -1.3%) are upgraded to Focus Stock.
Dec. 31, 2013, 3:56 PM
- The energy sector - especially refiners - leads the stock market higher today even as crude oil trades lower, with Phillips 66 (PSX +3.2%) contributing to the strength after Berkshire Hathaway agreed to acquire its flow improver business (I, II).
- Berkshire's acquisition would seem to point to the next logical step for Warren Buffett’s empire building in the energy sector: investing in pipelines and, at the other end, the refineries that stand to benefit most from them.
- Today's refining stalwarts: VLO +3.7%, MPC +3.8%, HFC +2%, TSO +3.4%, WNR +3.1%, CVI +2.9%, ALJ +2.8%, NTI +2.8%.
Dec. 20, 2013, 3:18 PM
- Shrinking crude spreads - WTI has gained 7.2% while Brent has risen just 1.7% so far in December - likely will hold back refiners during the first six months of 2014, Cowen's Sam Margolin says.
- Extremely favorable refining conditions from last month are deteriorating amid higher utilization and continued reduction in crude imports, limiting supply and causing U.S. prices to melt higher, the firm explains, adding that investors need to "manage near-term expectations" while "remain(ing) constructive on the refining story for 2014."
- Margolin keeps Outperform ratings for Western Refining (WNR +4%), Marathon Petroleum (MPC +2.6%), Tesoro (TSO +0.4%), Valero (VLO +1.4%) and PBF Energy (PBF +1.7%); HollyFrontier (HFC +2.4%), Delek (DK +2.3%), Northern Tier (NTI +0.6%), Alon USA (ALJ +1.7%) and Calumet Specialty Products (CLMT +3.8%).
Dec. 11, 2013, 12:52 PM
- Tesoro (TSO -1.8%) apparently didn't offer enough good news at yesterday's analyst day, as shares tumble despite the general perception from the meeting as "incrementally positive."
- The key messages in the meeting surrounded progress of the synergy capture from the Carson acquisition, continued margin improvement through feedstock and product optimization and driving additional logistics growth.
- TSO sees rail unloading capacity along the U.S. west coast for North Dakota crude oil growing to nearly 1M bbl/day through 2015; TSO's $100M rail-to-barge project in Washington is the largest of the offloading projects announced so far.
- Imperial Capital raises its TSO price target TSO to $63 from $57, and Howard Weil lifts its target to $66 from $62.
- Other refiners are lower too: VLO -1.3%, PSX -0.7%, MPC -1.8%, WNR -2.6%, HFC -1.6%, ALJ -1%, NTI -0.2%, DK -1.9%, CLMT -2.7%.
Dec. 9, 2013, 10:47 AM
- J.P. Morgan is the latest investment banker to turn bullish on refiners, upgrading HollyFrontier (HFC +2%), Valero Energy (VLO +1.8%) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC +0.9%) on its expectation for a larger difference between Brent and West Texas oil prices.
- The firm revises its view on oil prices, forecasting Brent prices averaging $105.50/bbl for 2014 and $100.30 for 2015 vs. WTI prices of $91.50/bbl for 2014 and $85.30 for 2015, suggesting a $14-$15 differential, which should increase U.S. refining margins.
- In particular, the firm believes HFC's inland refining system is "well positioned to benefit from growth in production of disadvantaged inland North American crudes, and expect(s) HFC to capture Brent-WTI price differentials as higher gross margins across the majority of its throughput."
- HFC is upgraded to Overweight from Underweight, VLO and MPC are raised to Neutral from Underweight, and Phillips 66 (PSX +1.5%) and Tesoro (TSO +1.2%) are maintained at Overweight.
Nov. 18, 2013, 4:35 PM
- Tesoro Logisitcs (TLLP) agrees to acquire Tesoro's (TSO) Los Angeles Logistics Assets, consisting of two marine terminals, a marine storage terminal, a products terminal, a petroleum coke handling and storage facility, more than 100 miles of active crude oil and refined products pipelines, and other related properties, for $650M.
- To pay for the deal, TLLP announces a public offering of 6.3M common units.
- Shares -3.6% AH.
Tesoro Corp is an independent petroleum refiner and marketer in the United States. Its subsidiaries operate through three business segments, transport crude oil and manufacture, transport and sell transportation fuels.
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