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What's Up at Cimarex Energy (XEC) This Earnings Season?

Independent oil & gas exploration and production firm, Cimarex Energy Company XEC is expected to release first-quarter 2016 results on Wednesday, May 4.

Last quarter, the company delivered a negative surprise of 8.70% owing to the challenges from a steep drop in oil price. Also, the company failed to meet the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the past four quarters. However, the company managed an average beat of 38.82%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

Almost throughout first-quarter 2016, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude traded significantly below the $40-per-barrel level. Most importantly, WTI crude fell to the 12-year low mark of below $27 per barrel during mid February. The low levels were owing to plentiful supplies and lackluster demand. Predictably, Cimarex Energy was able to extract less value for its products. This is sure to put pressure on the company’s first-quarter profit margins.  

With weakness in oil prices, the top energy companies cut spending (in particular on the costly drilling projects) to make up for lower profit margins. This, in turn, meant less work for the beleaguered drillers as exploration for new oil and gas projects almost came to a standstill in the quarter to be reported.

However, to some extent, Cimarex Energy’s successful cost reduction initiatives are likely to ease the negative impact on its first-quarter results.

Overall activities of Cimarex Energy were inadequate to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter widened to a loss of 39 cents from a loss of 35 cents per share over the last 60 days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Cimarex Energy is likely to beat estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Cimarex Energy has an Earnings ESP is -2.56%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at a loss of 40 cents and the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at a loss of 39 cents.

Zacks Rank: Cimarex carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, a negative ESP complicates our surprise prediction.

We caution against Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) going into the announcement of the results, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Some stocks from the energy space which, according to our model, have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter are:

Enable Midstream Partners, LP ENBL with an Earnings ESP of +21.05% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Bill Barrett Corp. BBG with an Earnings ESP of + 9.09% and a Zacks Rank #3.  

Spectra Energy Partners LP SEP has an Earnings ESP of + 2.27% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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SPECTRA EGY PTR (SEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
ENABLE MIDSTRM (ENBL): Free Stock Analysis Report
BILL BARRETT CP (BBG): Free Stock Analysis Report
CIMAREX ENERGY (XEC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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