Avery Schumer
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Avery Schumer in Commodities,

ConocoPhillips Is 'A Value Opportunity In Energy'; Goldman Upgrades To Buy

Goldman Sachs’ Neil Mehta believes ConocoPhillips  offers “compelling relative and absolute valuation, especially given share price underperformance in 2016.”

Mehta upgraded the rating on the company from Neutral to Buy, while raising the price target from $47 to $54.

Value Opportunity

The analyst believes ConocoPhillips offers the most attractive free cash flow yield among its large cap U.S. majors and E&P peers.

The company’s capex is expected to remain low, while oil prices are expected to normalize over 2017-2020 to above $50/bbl WTI.

Mehta sees the company as “a solid capital allocation story, with COP growing the dividend, reducing its share count and paying down debt, partly through asset sale proceeds.”

Capital Returns

ConocoPhillips underperformed during 2016, largely due to its 66 percent dividend cut. However, capital returns are expected to grow again in 2017–2018, with annual dividend growth of 5–10 percent and share buyback of $1 billion per year.

“There remains skepticism about COP’s ability to execute its $5–$8 billion asset sale program by YE2017, based on investor conversations. That said, we see this level as achievable given the company’s track record of asset sale success, particularly in natural gas,” the analyst went on to say.

Despite the capital spending of only $5 billion, Mehta believes the company could grow its production each year through the end of the decade.

At last check, ConocoPhillips shares were up 2.03 percent at $46.68. The United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) USO was also up, moving upward by 1.45 percent, and seen at $10.48.

Image Credit: By Knudsens Fotosenter / DEXTRA Photo [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for COP

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2016Goldman SachsUpgradesNeutralBuy
Nov 2016CLSADowngradesOutperformUnderperform
Nov 2016Edward JonesUpgradesHoldBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for COP
View the Latest Analyst Ratings