Conoco-Phillips: Weathering a Rocky Road

05/22/2017 2:50 am EST

Focus: ENERGY

Jack Adamo

Editor, Jack Adamo's Insiders Plus

Despite the recent rocky action seen in oil prices, Conoco-Phillips (COP) is showing signs of life, notes growth and income expert Jack Adamo, editor of Insiders Plus.

Revenues for the global energy firm were up 47% in Q1, pre-tax earnings soared from a $2.2 billion loss to a $62 million gain.

Net EPS swung from a $1.18 loss to a $0.62 profit, but that was helped a great deal by a one-time tax benefit related to a Canadian disposition.

Still, free cash flow was about a billion dollars and the company had $3.3 billion in cash & cash equivalents at the quarter's end. Conoco's strong balance sheet has weathered the downturn very well.

The payout ratio is more than 100% of earnings, even when extrapolated through year end. I don't much like that, but on a free cash flow basis it's only about 33%, so I don't mind if this condition persists for a while, as long as it doesn't get to be a habit.

The company also spent $112 million on stock buybacks. That's a modest amount these days and the stock is undoubtedly a good long-term buy at these prices, so I make an exception here to my usual dislike of stock buybacks.

With oil prices swinging so wildly I can't promise that stock purchased at the current price won't slide further over the short to intermediate-term, but I think you'll make decent money over a five year period. Conoco-Phillips is a buy up to $48.

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