01/09/2014 6:00 am EST
For his top conservative stock pick for the coming year, J. Royden Ward, Chief Analyst of Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Investor, looks to a leading offshore oil and natural gas drilling company.
Ensco PLC (ESV) owns and operates shallow water and ultra-deepwater rigs, located in many parts of the world.
Two new drilling rigs are ready to begin multi-year contracts with major international oil companies. Six more rigs are under construction.
In addition, Ensco is spending heavily on standardizing and modernizing its drilling fleet, which will help the company maintain its advantage over competitors.
Demand for Ensco's drilling rigs is solid, and will likely strengthen further during the next several years. Sales will rise 15% in 2014, and EPS will climb 17% to 7.20.
Ensco has been named Number One in total customer satisfaction for the third consecutive year. The low current P/E (price to 2013 earnings) ratio of 8.9 and the high dividend yield of 5.5% are very attractive.
ESV shares are currently selling right at book value. I expect Ensco PLC to reach my Minimum Sell Price target of $88.49 within one year.