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.
Feb. 5, 2014, 5:57 PM
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. 24, 2013, 2:12 PM
- Energy stocks have underperformed this year, but Merrill Lynch analysts are reasonably positive on the sector for 2014, pointing to some key themes:
- With the price of gas likely to remain in a narrow range next year, the firm says investors should buy high-quality, large resource-based stocks such as COG and RRC.
- The net asset value race is over, and the coming year is about execution, ML says, seeing PXD and WLL as winners here.
- Following 2013's wave of activism, the firm sees gains in HES and OXY.
- Favorable outlooks for E&P budgets could lift oilfield services stocks focused on North America, such as HAL and SLB.
- The ML team sees crude production rising to the highest level since 1989, and pinpoints TSO and VLO as the refiners to benefit the most in 2014 because they're crude-advantaged and have stock-specific catalysts.
- Finally, the firm suggests investors with significant gains in CVX may want to take those and buy XOM for 2014.
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. 20, 2013, 11:49 AM
- With the threat of more supply hanging over the market, Credit Suisse narrows its list of top energy stock picks for 2014 to those that can truly have top upside gains in 2014.
- Chevron (CVX) is the only major domestic integrated on the Credit Suisse list; it may be looking to expand domestic production by acquiring one of the top E&P stocks, CS says.
- Phillips 66 (PSX) and Tesoro (TSO) are the firm's best-liked refiners.
- The firm's three favorite E&P names - PDC Energy (PDCE), Diamondback Energy (FANG) and EOG Resources (EOG) - were all considered takeover candidates during 2013.
- Among oil services companies, the firm thinks Halliburton (HAL) is making a strong comeback in the North American drilling market.
- Offshore driller Rowan (RDC) should roughly double its EBITDA in two years, CS says.
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.
Dec. 3, 2013, 7:07 PM
- BofA Merrill Lynch makes a positive case for leading refiners HollyFrontier (HFC), Valero (VLO) and Tesoro (TSO), believing the rebound in crude spreads signals the early stages of crude saturation on the U.S. Gulf coast and introduces a new layer of seasonal margin volatility that plays to the benefit of the sector.
- The firm upgrades HFC to Buy from Neutral with a $60 price target, up from $51, after HFC has lagged the early seasonal rebound in the U.S. refining sector that has accompanied the expansion in crude differentials.
- VLO is BofA's top pick in the sector; poised to complete a second MLP, VLO can unlock $5-$9/share of value in the stock, the firm says.
- The firm likes TSO's west coast crude advantage and accelerated spending at its MLP.
Nov. 25, 2013, 3:55 PM
- Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and AIG are the most popular (long) holdings of hedge funds, according to Goldman's latest hedge fund monitor, which analyzed the positions of 783 hedge funds with $1.7T of gross assets. Hedge fund holdings of AIG, however, account for 14 of the company's float compared to negligible amounts for Apple and Google.
- The 20 most concentrated hedge fund holdings as defined by the percent of equity cap owned by the funds has consistently been a significant outperformer, according to Goldman. In order: AN, STZ, JCP, FDO, THC, HRB, BEAM, MU, NWSA, VRSN, CBG, NFLX, GT, TSO, ETFC, MSI, WPX, WYN, HES, CCI. The top 20 last quarter is here.
- Overall, the studied hedge funds' performance leaves a bit to be desired, with average return of 6% YTD. Fewer than 5% outperformed the S&P 500, and 20% of funds posted an absolute loss.
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.
Nov. 15, 2013, 3:09 PM
- The EPA is proposing a range of 15B-15.52B gallons of renewable fuel in 2014, nearly 3B fewer gallons of biofuel to be blended into gasoline than mandated by the original 2007 law.
- The new proposal angers farm groups, corn ethanol producers and supporters of biodiesel, but it's a victory for oil companies, which have long argued that if the content of ethanol in motor fuel exceeded 10% - i.e., the "blend wall" - it might damage cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers.
- The administration also is setting a 2B-2.5B gallon target range for all advanced biofuels (earlier).
- Among the biggest movers: PEIX +13%, ADM -2.9%.
- Refiners: VLO +0.8%, HFC -0.4%, PSX -0.5%, TSO -0.3%.
- ETF: CORN -1.2%.
Nov. 15, 2013, 11:24 AM
- Barron's is bullish on refiners HollyFrontier (HFC -0.2%) and Tesoro (TSO -0.3%), each of which has operations near the heart of the shale oil boom that should benefit from shifting oil price dynamics.
- HFC will continue to see cost benefits from its proximity to plentiful shale oil, which can be even cheaper than WTI, and is investing to improve the efficiency of its refineries which should give it an edge over competitors as delivery bottlenecks from booming oilfields are resolved with new pipelines.
- Like HFC, TSO has refineries with geographic advantages, which Credit Suisse says are among the best-positioned in U.S. refining; also, TSO's valuation may not reflect the benefits that will result as it moves pipeline, storage and other assets into its Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) MLP.
Nov. 14, 2013, 2:36 PM
- Refiners such as Marathon Petroleum (MPC +4.9%) and Valero (VLO +4%) are surging today, and Barron's Ben Levisohn says it’s all about the oil spread.
- While Brent crude has stayed steady for the last three months, trading at ~$109/bbl, WTI has dropped 12% to ~$94; the more expensive Brent is relative to WTI, the better it is for U.S. refiners.
- VLO, for example, has gained 17% during the past three months, and much of its price has followed the Brent-WTI spread.
- Also: PSX +2.1%, TSO +2.7%, HFC +3.2%, WNR +4.3%, ALJ +5.2%, ALDW +1.3%, CLMT +2.6%, CVI +1.3%.
TSO vs. ETF Alternatives
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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