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Here's Why ExxonMobil (XOM) is an Attractive Investment Bet

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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 and 2022 in the past seven days. So far this year, the stock, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has gained 53.2%, outpacing the 35.1% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.

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What's Favoring the Stock?

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude is approaching the $80-per-barrel mark again, highlighting a substantial improvement from the negative territory hit last April. The massive crude recovery has been driven by the rapid and widespread rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

The positive trajectory in oil price is a boon for ExxonMobil’s upstream operations. Also, ExxonMobil has a pipeline of key projects in the Permian – the most prolific basin in the United States – and offshore Guyana. In the Permian, ExxonMobil has an inventory of more than 8,000 well locations, with the integrated energy major estimating a net of 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels of recoverable resource. In offshore Guyana, ExxonMobil made several discoveries which XOM estimated at more than 9 billion oil-equivalent barrels of recoverable resource.

Like upstream businesses, ExxonMobil also benefits from its downstream and chemical operations. Improving refining margins from the United States and non-U.S. operations and higher margins from the chemical businesses are aiding XOM’s bottom line.

On Oct 27, ExxonMobil announced its fourth-quarter dividend at 88 cents per share, reflecting an increase from 87 cents in the third quarter of this year. Following the increase, the integrated energy giant’s annual dividend for 2021 is $3.49 per share, higher than $3.48 in 2020.

Looking at the dividend history, it has been clear that ExxonMobil is strongly focused on returning capital to shareholders since over 39 consecutive years, XOM has hiked its annual dividend payment. ExxonMobil has also decided to launch up to a $10-billion share repurchase program next year. ExxonMobil will conduct the stock buyback program over 12 to 24 months.

ExxonMobil has a bold plan for $15-billion investments over the next six years to lower greenhouse gas. Owing to its strong effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, XOM is now expecting to achieve its ambitious goal of 2025 emission-intensity reductions by 2021-end.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other prospective players in the energy space include Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL - Free Report) , Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR - Free Report) and Callon Petroleum Company (CPE - Free Report) . While Continental Resources carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Whiting Petroleum and Callon Petroleum sport a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Whiting Petroleum is a leading upstream energy company and is the top producer of crude oil in North Dakota. With oil price improving at a healthy pace, Whiting Petroleum expects to continue generating handsome cashflows while maintaining a healthy balance sheet.

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Whiting Petroleum has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 in the past 30 days. Looking at the price chart, WLL has gained 176.1% year to date, outpacing the 100.8% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.

Continental Resources is also a leading upstream energy company, having proven reserves in North Dakota and Oklahoma. The oil inventories of Continental Resources are among the best in the industry.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 in the past 30 days. Considering the price chart, CLR has gained 203.7% so far this year, outpacing the 100.8% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.

Callon Petroleum is also a leading exploration and production company with a strong presence in prolific unconventional resources that comprise Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale play.

Callon Petroleum has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021 in the past 30 days. Looking at the price chart, Callon Petroleum has gained 342.1% year to date, outpacing the 100.8% improvement of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.