Barron’s Energy Review : A Whole Lot of Shorting Going On

Chesapeake Energy: A Whole Lot of Shorting Going On

Sterne Agee CRT’s Tim Rezvan is feeling bullish about Chesapeake Energy (CHK), which he upgraded on June 29. One of the reasons: The latest short interest data. He explains:

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Largest Increases in Short Interest Among Coverage Names:PetroQuest Energy (PQ), Cheasapeake, Noble Energy(NBL). The largest increase in short interest came from PetroQuest Energy, which had a 16.1% increase to 7.2 million shares (11.0% of shares outstanding, 5.0 days to cover). Other large increases were seen in Chesapeake Energy, which had a 14.1% increase to 185 million shares (27.8% of shares outstanding, 8.1 days to cover), and Noble Energy, which had a 10.3% increase to 17.9 million shares (4.6% of shares outstanding, 4.1 days to cover).

June 30 Data Likely Represents Peak of Bear Case Fervor for Chesapeake Shares. Our June 29 upgrade of Chesapeake shares to Buy from Underperform reflected what we believed was oversold conditions, and month-end short interest data validates this thesis. Short interest in Chesapeake shares increased 14% to 185 million shares from mid-June to the end of June (+163% from the end of February). We expect profit-taking from shorts to provide further support to Chesapeake shares into 2Q earnings

Here’s a chart of the short interest in Chesapeake, which as the analysts note is just massive:

Shares of Chesapeake Energy have tumbled 3.4% to $10.98 at 9:57 a.m. today, while Noble Energy has fallen 0.3% to $38.94, and Petroquest Energy has gained 1.7% to $1.75.

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Cramer Rates Chesapeake Energy : SELL SELL SELL

Our favorite AVOID gets a celebrity endorsement:

Chesapeake Energy is an oil and natural gas company based in Oklahoma City with positions in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Granite Wash, Cleveland, Tonkawa, Mississippi Lime, and Niobrara unconventional liquids plays.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

“We rate CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP (CHK) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.”

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 979.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $425.00 million to -$3,739.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP’s return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $423.00 million or 67.23% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm’s growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock’s performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 59.08%, worse than the S&P 500’s performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company’s earnings per share are down 1159.25% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock’s sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.83 versus $0.68 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 109.8% in earnings (-$0.18 versus $1.83).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHK Ratings Report

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Cramer Says : Sell Apache

 

Apache Corp. (APAGet Report)
Market Cap: $22.3 billion
Sector: Energy/Oil & Gas Explorations & Production
TheStreet Ratings: Sell, D
Beta: 1.48
Year-to-date return: -5.8%

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids.

TheStreet Ratings said: “We rate APACHE CORP (APA) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.”

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2070.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $236.00 million to -$4,651.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, APACHE CORP’s return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $650.00 million or 71.65% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm’s growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock’s performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 39.06%, worse than the S&P 500’s performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company’s earnings per share are down 749.47% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock’s sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • APACHE CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, APACHE CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$13.07 versus $5.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$1.03 versus -$13.07).

Stocks To Avoid : Chesapeake Our Top Avoid In Natural Gas,

occupy wall street cartoon

 

These are this Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Check out Seeking Alpha for the unending series of article seeking  to pick the bottom – in natural gas, shipping , drilling and compare that to our consistent  AVOID ratings:

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. That means that the firm now has no target to speak of, and the $13.06 closing price compares to a consensus price target of $15.67 and a 52-week range of $12.89 to $29.92. The downgrade was based on growing losses and a cash flow deficit.

Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) was started as Outperform with a $10 price target (versus a $8.64 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm believes Rite Aid is one of the more compelling risk-reward profiles in the space and that it has a compelling M&A potential.

Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the target price was raised to $42 from $40 (versus a $36.81 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm believes that investors underappreciate its earnings potential, and the firm raised estimates to reflect the updated City Living pipeline.

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) was started as Underweight with a price target of $14 (versus a $19.08 close) at Barclays. Transocean’s consensus price target is $14.17, and the 52-week range is $13.28 to $46.12.

Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a price target cut to $57.00 from $74.00 (versus a $54.69 close) at Wedbush. Harley-Davidson has a consensus price target of $66.00 and a 52-week range of $53.04 to $72.37.

 

Natural Gas Futures Plunge 4% after bearish storage data

© Reuters.  U.S. natural gas prices tumble to 3-week low after supply report

Investing.com – Natural gas futures plunged sharply to hit a three-week low on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies rose more than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in July tumbled 11.8 cents, or 4.16%, to trade at $2.729 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at around $2.790 prior to the release of the supply data.

A day earlier, natural gas prices shed 0.2 cents, or 0.07%, to close at $2.847. Futures were likely to find support at $2.710 per million British thermal units, the low from May 7, and resistance at $2.915, the high from May 27.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended May 22 rose by 112 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for an increase of 99 billion and following a build of 92 billion cubic feet in the preceding week.

Supplies rose by 113 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is an increase of 95 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.101 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 737 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 18 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.119 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

Meanwhile, weather forecasting models called for slightly warmer than average temperatures across the U.S. over the next ten days, although not yet enough to significantly boost cooling demand.

Spring usually sees the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in July fell 79 cents, or 1.37%, to trade at $56.72 a barrel, while heating oil for July delivery dropped 0.41% to trade at $1.852 per gallon.

Half of U.S. Fracking Companies Will Be Sold OR Dead This Year

Half of the 41 fracking companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International Plc said.
There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston. Demand for fracking, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices.
There were 61 fracking service providers in the U.S., the world’s largest market, at the start of last year. Consolidation among bigger players began with Halliburton Co. announcing plans to buy Baker Hughes Inc. in November for $34.6 billion and C&J Energy Services Ltd. buying the pressure-pumping business of Nabors Industries Ltd.
Weatherford, which operates the fifth-largest fracking operation in the U.S., has been forced to cut costs “dramatically” in response to customer demand, Fulks said. The company has been able to negotiate price cuts from the mines that supply sand, which is used to prop open cracks in the rocks that allow hydrocarbons to flow.
Oil companies are cutting more than $100 billion in spending globally after prices fell. Frack pricing is expected to fall as much as 35 percent this year, according to PacWest, a unit of IHS Inc.
While many large private-equity firms are looking at fracking companies to buy, the spread between buyer and seller pricing is still too wide for now, Alex Robart, a principal at PacWest, said in an interview at CERAWeek.
Fulks declined to say whether Weatherford is seeking to acquire other fracking companies or their unused equipment.
“We go by and we see yards are locked up and the doors are closed he  said. “It’s not good for equipment to park anything, whether it’s an airplane, a frack pump or a car.”