2 Cheap Energy Concerns Showing Up On Analysts' Buy Lists

Includes: MRO, WLL
by: Bret Jensen

One of the core parts of my daily investing routine is going through the list of recent analysts' upgrades/downgrades. Analysts' comments are good sources of ideas to research and can sometimes be great indicators on when sentiment is changing on a stock or a sector. Most times they lead nowhere or to stocks I already own. Sometime they lead to actionable investment ideas and/or themes for new articles. That being said, here are two cheap energy concerns that I own that are getting recent positive comments from analysts that should still have further upside from here.

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) operates in three segments: Exploration and Production, Oil Sands Mining, and Integrated Gas.

4 reasons MRO is still cheap at $32 a share:

  1. Oppenheimer raised its price target on Marathon yesterday from $35 to $40 a share. They have an "Outperform" rating on the stock. Goldman upgraded the shares in December from "Neutral" to "Buy" and raised their price target from $35 to $39 a share.
  2. The stock is cheap at 10x forward earnings and just 6x forward earnings.
  3. Insiders have not had any significant sales of their shares in over a year and MRO also yields 2.1%.
  4. The company is growing the amount of its production coming from geopolitical stable North America and around 80% of the company's production consists of oil and liquids.

Whiting Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:WLL) is an independent energy that company produces oil and gas primarily in the Permian Basin, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast, and Michigan regions of the United States.

4 reasons WLL is undervalued at $48 a share:

  1. Stern Agee just upgraded the shares from "Neutral" to "Buy" and put a $62 price target on the stock. This follows Howard Weill initiating the shares as an "Outperform" earlier in January. The analyst firm has a more aggressive price target of $67 a share on the stock.
  2. The company should continue the 12% revenue growth it achieved in 2012 for 2013. The stock has a very reasonable five year projected PEG (1.02). The company has grown sales at an 18% CAGR over the past five years.
  3. The stock sells in the bottom third of its five year valuation range based on P/E, P/S and P/B.
  4. The company has tripled its operating cash flow over the last three years. The stocks sells for just 4x operating cash flow as well.

Disclosure: I am long MRO, WLL. 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.