Thu, May 7, 11:49 AM
- HollyFrontier (HFC +3.7%) is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform with a $49 price target, raised from $40, at RBC, which cites improving operation execution, a new drop strategy and a large new buyback program.
- The firm likes HFC's new drop strategy in which it will build out new refining projects and then drop a portion to Holly Energy Partners (NYSE:HEP) to cover the costs; the new drop strategy of using its MLP to fund new refining capital projects will prove to be accretive going forward, RBC says.
- The firm says it no longer sees HFC as strictly a name that trades around the WTI-Brent spread, and now sees a true investment case to be made.
Fri, Mar. 27, 5:38 PM
Wed, Mar. 18, 3:24 PM
- Crude oil prices, in the doldrums yet again after U.S. inventories hit record highs for a 10th week and supplies at the futures' Cushing delivery hub hit a peak, turned around to finish higher following the Fed policy statement.
- Nymex crude rose 2.5% to settle at $44.66/bbl, pushing off earlier lows of $42.25 and the lowest intraday level since March 2009; Brent is up 4.5% at nearly $56.
- The gain could prove only a momentary recovery, however, as "speculation is going to grow about operational capacity being hit in Cushing and what that portends for prices,” according to Again Capital John Kilduff, adding that he sees U.S.crude testing $40 soon.
- U.S. refiners are enjoying big gains as the Brent/WTI spread surpasses $11: TSO +5.1%, CLMT +4.7%, CVI +4.8%, HFC +4.6%, MUR +4.5%, WNR +4.4%, VLO +3.9%, RDS.A +3.9%, CVRR +3.7%, MPC +3.3%, PSX +3.2%, ALJ +3.2%.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, UWTI, USL, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, TWTI, OLEM
Thu, Feb. 19, 9:53 AM
- HollyFrontier (HFC -1.5%) says its board has authorized a new $500M share repurchase program, using funds that had previously been allocated to its $0.50/share special dividend; the regular dividend of $0.32/share remains unchanged.
- Cutting the special dividend is no surprise given the compression of the Brent/WTI spread vs. when HFC initiated the special dividend in 2011, Wells Fargo writes as it reiterates its Market Perform rating on the stock; HFC likely will be in a negative net free cash flow position in 2015, so it was on an unsustainable path supporting both a regular and special dividend and a share repurchase program, the firm says.
Fri, Jan. 2, 5:11 PM
- HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC) -1.6% AH after saying it expects a lower of cost or market inventory adjustment to result in a FY 2014 pretax charge of $350M-$400M because of falling crude oil prices.
- HFC also says maintenance at its El Dorado refinery in Kansas took 10 days longer than planned and required significant repairs, which caused a shift towards a lighter and sweeter crude slate post-turnaround and limited its overall crude charge in the quarter to 359K bbl/day.
Dec. 15, 2014, 12:33 PM
- BofA Merrill analyst Doug Leggate stays cautious on the refining sector for 2015, although he sees a bullish opportunity in Phillips 66 (PSX +0.5%), which he upgrades to Buy from Neutral with a $90 price target.
- The expected recognition of value risks being materially overhyped compared to what is currently being recognized by MLPs, the analyst says, adding that absence of guidance on the cost impact on the remaining business, limited guidance on tax and lack of precision on disclosure prompts skepticism that the market is not getting ahead of itself.
- Leggate downgrades HollyFrontier (HFC -1.5%) to Neutral from Buy, and PBF Energy (PBF -1.9%) and Delek US (DK -1.9%) to Underperform from Neutral; he also lowers stock price targets for the three, as well as for Valero (VLO +0.4%), Northern Tier (NTI -2.5%) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC -1.1%).
Oct. 9, 2014, 2:57 PM
- J.P. Morgan has a favorable outlook on the refining sector heading into Q3 earnings, as the group has sold off since September on a combination of factors, including fears about the crude export ban being lifted and narrowing crude differentials, despite good product cracks.
- Two of the biggest drops among refiners have been suffered by Valero Energy (VLO -2.7%) and HollyFrontier (HFC -2.6%), each ~13% since the group's peak; of the two, JPM likes VLO going into the quarter, particularly in the event of any favorable updates around capital allocation.
- The firm thinks Tesoro (TSO -3.2%) is set up for another solid quarter but that investors must be expecting it, given that shares are down only ~3%.
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
Aug. 6, 2014, 11:46 AM
- HollyFrontier (HFC +2.4%) powers higher despite Q2 earnings that missed analyst estimates, as the refiner says it foresees significantly higher margins from turning crude oil into other fuels and asphalt in the current quarter.
- Q2 margins shrank 28% Y/Y to $14.54/bbl produced, but were roughly in line with analyst expectations and offset by higher than expected throughput volumes, Raymond James analysts say, adding that this had been "a common theme this refining earnings season."
- HFC processed 472,590 bbl/day in the quarter, 13% more than a year earlier, but expects to process 405K bbl/day in Q3 due to work at its refineries in El Dorado, Kan., and Artesia, N.M.
- CEO Mike Jennings said in this morning's earnings call that the assets of Venezuela's Citgo would be "a good fit" if they are for sale, adding that the company always looks at M&A possibilities.
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%.
Jul. 11, 2014, 3:18 PM
- Citigroup analyst Faisal Khan says he is moving toward a more bullish view of the U.S. refining sector after a bout of selling amid low expectations.
- Khan points to continued growth in U.S. and Canadian oil production, "sticky" oil prices due to Middle East volatility, U.S. oil price differentials that are "somewhat contained" at $5-$10/bbl, and headway on refining closures in the Atlantic basin that is only a matter of time.
- As a result, the Citi team upgrades Marathon Petroleum (MPC +2.2%) to Buy from Neutral, as well as HollyFrontier (HFC +2%) to Neutral from Sell on valuation, but downgrades Alon USA Partners (ALDW -0.8%) to Neutral on the belief that Midland-Cushing differentials have peaked.
- Valero Energy (VLO +1.7%) and Western Refining (WNR +2%) remain the firm's favorites - VLO because it sees “crude-on-crude competition on the U.S. Gulf Coast resulting in greater feedstock discounts at Valero’s high conversion refineries," and WNR for its restructuring potential.
Jun. 27, 2014, 11:58 AM
- HollyFrontier (HFC -1.7%) is downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $50 price target, down from $63, at Credit Suisse, which predicts the macro economy to negatively affect HFC's operational recovery.
- The firm views global refiners as over-capacitated fears, and expects Middle East uncertainty to decrease the price of imports in H2 2014; due to recent crude oil spikes, it is concerned about the company's Q4 results.
- Credit Suisse has cut HFC's Q2 EPS outlook by 18% and Q3 by 16%.
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, 12:47 PM
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. 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
HFC vs. ETF Alternatives
HollyFrontier Corp is an independent petroleum refiner. It produces high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, specialty lubricant products, and specialty and modified asphalt. It operates in two segments; Refining and HEP.
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