Our 4 Favorite T. Boone Pickens Energy Stocks

Includes: APA, CHK, HAL, HES
by: Investment Underground

We took a look at T. Boone Pickens portfolio and identified four names we particularly like. Here they are, plus some in depth commentary on each.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK): This company focuses on developing conventional and unconventional natural gas reserves onshore in the U.S. The company sports a beta of 1.33, a trailing P/E of 13.35, and a forward P/E of 11.22. Profit and operating margins currently stand at 18.94% and 28.71%, respectively. Recently, BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) paid $4.75 billion for Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s gas assets in the Fayetteville shale formation.

Of all major drillers, Chesapeake maintains a dominant position and has a solid plan to reduce its long term debt and further increase production. We think shares could fetch upwards of $47, giving investors a good entry point at the time of writing. Even in a period of longer term depressed NG prices, companies like Chesapeake will continue moving toward oil and production of unconventional resources, all while selling off NG acerage to shore up their balance sheets.

Chesapeake appears to be a bad horse to bet against. The company has 21 years of production growth, is the second largest producer of natural gas in the United States, and has invested significantly recently in developing natural gas liquids (a savvy move in our opinion, given the negative short term prospects of U.S. natural gas prices).

Depressed NG prices have hurt many drillers, but we’re bullish on natural gas prospects over the long term. Oil’s recent surge and the disaster in Japan have only reaffirmed this sentiment.

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL): Pickens increased his holdings in Halliburton during the most recent reporting period at the average price of around $36 per share.

Halliburton provides products and services for energy development, exploration and production. The company currently sports a beta of 1.57, and Halliburton’s profit and operating margins stand at 10.2% and 16.7%. While we like Halliburton’s prospects, especially outside North America, and the oil and gas industry in general, we think investors should wait for a further dip in oil prices before purchasing shares of Halliburton.

At the time of writing, we believe the market is undervaluing the company. We advise adding shares in the low $40s range to ensure a 20% margin of safety.

The main risks we see are twofold: political and commodity price driven. The company is well diversified outside the North American market. However, it is present in politically unstable regions such as Libya (where the company is already being affected by recent sanctions) and Venezuela. We think these risks are mostly mitigated by proper geographic diversification into markets like Brazil, Mexico and Russia.

The more pressing risk is commodity price driven, especially prices of oil. Oil has shot up recently to seemingly unsustainable levels in the near term (though it's recently pulled back). Should oil prices continue to fall, expect HAL shares to fall with them.

Hess (NYSE:HES): In 2010, the company grew GAAP EPS by 185.02% to $6.47, after declining by 68.65%. Revenues expanded by 17.06% to $34.61 billion, after shrinking by 28.17%. The EBT margin also improved to 9.57% from 5.15%.

HES shares trade with a P/S multiple of 0.8. The highest multiple was in 2007 with 1.0, but since 2001, the multiples were no higher than 0.7. Also, the company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33. Revenue growth in excess of 20% this year would make a strong case for a P/S multiple of 0.9.

Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA): Apache is one of the largest independent exploration and production companies in the world with plays throughout North America, and oil and gas projects in Egypt, Australia, Argentina and the U.K.

President Obama called natural gas’s potential as a vehicle fuel “enormous”, and Apache has already undertaken steps to push natural gas fuel. Apache announced that it would provide a compressed natural-gas fuel station at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to serve the airport parking shuttle fleet. This move is likely just the first of many as Apache tries to expand the role of CNG-powered vehicles. Apache shares trade at $122 with a P/E ratio of 13.4.

Credit Suisse revised its medium-term WTI crude price forecast to $101/Bbl from $83/Bbl and long-term (2015+) price increased to $90/Bbl from $80/Bbl. This is a good driver for continued revenue growth. The company also made $11.5 B of acquisitions in 2010. Also, APA shares trade below our fair value estimates. We place a $152 price target, and believe this is a great buy at current price levels.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.