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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Schlumberger, Cameron International, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Valero Energy

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 30, 2016 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB - Free Report) , Cameron International Corp. , Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Free Report) , Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A - Free Report) and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO - Free Report) .

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Oil & Gas Stock Roundup

It was a week where both oil and gas prices finished lower.

On the news front, Chinese regulators cleared Schlumberger Ltd.’s (SLB) $14.8 billion takeover of Cameron International Corp. (CAM).

Overall, it was a dismal week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dived 4% to close at $39.46 per barrel, while natural gas prices plunged 5.3% to $1.806 per million Btu (MMBtu). (See the last ‘Oil & Gas Stock Roundup’ here: TransCanada to Buy CPG, Chevron Ships First Gorgon LNG.)

Oil experienced its first weekly loss since mid-February after the U.S. Energy Department's latest inventory release showed a massive rise in crude supplies to an all-time high of 532.5 million barrels.

Natural gas also fared badly after the first injection of 2016 added to the already bloated inventories. Also, spring-like temperatures across the country have restricted the commodity’s requirement for power burn.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. The world’s largest oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd. and leading flow equipment products provider Cameron International Corp. jointly announced that they have received unconditional clearance from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) for their $14.8 billion merger.

The MOFCOM approval fulfills the last major closing condition for the proposed merger. Hence, the parties intend to close their transaction on Apr 1, 2016, subject to the effective fulfillment of all customary conditions of the agreement.

The proposed acquisition, first announced in Aug 2015, was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) without any clauses in mid-November. Thereafter, Cameron shareholders voted in favor of the merger on Dec 17, 2015. The deal also obtained antitrust clearances in Canada, Brazil, Russia and Mexico. Clearance from the European Commission (EU) was received in Feb 2016. (See More: Schlumberger-Cameron Merger Gets Clearance from China.)

2. The world’s largest publicly traded oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. ( XOM) found itself in troubled waters after being accused of misleading the public about climate change risks. Following such grave allegations, the Rockefeller Family Fund, announced its decision to divest its holdings in the company as well as all other fossil fuels investments immediately.

Per the director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, Lee Wasserman, about 6% of the New York-based philanthropic foundation’s $130 million in holdings is invested in fossil fuels. With the holdings in Exxon Mobil already divested, the trust has now instructed third-party managers to reduce its indirect holdings of these types of investments to less than 1% of its total portfolio. The charity also intends to sell assets in coal and Canadian oil sands.

ExxonMobil was the only company selected by the Rockefeller Family Fund for its unacceptable conduct. A number of articles issued last year by InsideClimate News alleged that the oil giant knew about global warming since the 1970s but attempted to hide information from investors, policymakers and the public. (See More: Exxon Mobil Shares to be Sold by Rockefeller Family Fund .)

3. Integrated energy major Royal Dutch Shell plc ( RDS.A) is reportedly considering the divestment of some of its North Sea assets to regain its financial health post the 35 billion pounds acquisition of BG Group plc last month.

The company intends to divest assets worth as much as $30 billion over 2016–2018 in order to offset its financial weakness following the acquisition of BG Group – a leading upstream energy player in the U.K. The company had to shell out a massive amount of $10 billion in cash for the takeover.

Shell believes that its assets in North Sea assets are old and mature and hence, worth selling. Potential North Sea asset buyers include the Neptune oil and gas fund. Shell currently has about 2,500 employees in the North Sea. Last year, the firm had slashed around 10,000 jobs to reduce costs and to improve competitiveness.

4. A subsidiary of refiner Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) announced the divestment of the McKee Terminal Services Business to its master limited partnership Valero Energy Partners L.P. for total consideration of $240 million. The transaction is anticipated to close on Apr 1, 2016.

Valero Energy Partners will purchase a terminal business that serves Valero’s McKee refinery. The sale includes 75 tanks with a storage capacity of 4.4 million barrels of crude oil, intermediates, and refined petroleum products.

The partnership is likely to finance the transaction with $139 million of borrowings under its revolving credit facility, $65 million of cash, and the issuance of additional common units and general partner units to Valero subsidiaries, with a total value of about $36 million. The newly issued units will be so allocated that the general partner will be able to retain its 2% general partner interest.

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