Half of the energy companies on the S&P 500 index have reported Q3 results. Notably, 66.7% of the firms have managed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Total reported earnings of these players are up 138.6% from a year ago.
We believe that healthy oil prices will continue to back companies in the Energy sector this earnings season.
Record Oil Price in Q3
Per data provided by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the monthly average spot prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July, August and September of 2018 were recorded at $70.98 per barrel, $68.06 and $70.23, respectively.
The average commodity prices were significantly higher than $46.63, $48.04 and $49.82 in the respective months of July, August and September of 2017. Importantly, the average monthly spot crude pricing scenario was also the healthiest in the July-to-September quarter of 2018 since 2015, per EIA. Traders mostly remained bullish on oil on optimism that the United States will be implementing sanctions on crude export by Iran — the third-largest producer of oil among the OPEC member countries — on Nov 4.
Natural gas also fared well on rising clean energy demand. The average monthly spot prices of the commodity for the respective months of third-quarter 2018 were $2.83 per Million Btu, $2.96 per Million Btu and $3.00 per Million Btu — representing healthier prices than third-quarter 2017.
Robust Energy Earnings Growth Likely
Considering all the companies that have reported or are yet to report results, Energy is expected to see year-over-year earnings growth of 92.2% in the quarter, the strongest among all 16 Zacks Sectors defining the S&P 500 index. In fact, excluding Energy, the year-over-year growth in earnings of the elite index through the July-to-September quarter of 2018 will likely drop to 20.6% from 23.2% — per the latest Earnings Trends report.
On robust commodity prices, Energy is expected to generate $20.7 billion earnings in third-quarter 2018, considerably higher than $17.5 billion, $15.6 billion, $11.2 billion and $10.8 billion in the respective last four quarters.
Potential Winners in the Energy Space
Favorable commodity prices helped upstream energy players produce record volumes of oil and natural gas through the third quarter. This might have backed demand for drillers and oilfield services companies. Also, huge volumes of oil and gas produced should have raised the need for midstream infrastructure assets like pipeline networks and storage facilities.
However, picking the right stocks with the potential to trump Q3 earnings estimates is a difficult task. Here comes the Zacks methodology, which helps identify energy stocks that not only boast solid fundamentals but are also poised to beat estimates this earnings season.
Our research shows that stocks with the combination of a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP have a higher chance — as high as 70% — of beating estimates. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Our Energy Picks
Headquartered in Houston, TX, Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (DO - Free Report) is among the leading drilling contract service providers.
With a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +7.20%, Diamond Offshore looks set for a positive earnings surprise. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Diamond Offshore is set to announce third-quarter results on Nov 5.
Cimarex Energy Co. (XEC - Free Report) , headquartered in Denver, CO, is primarily involved in exploration and production activities with exposure to the Permian and Anadarko Basins.
With a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +2.20%, Cimarex Energy looks positioned for a positive earnings surprise.
Cimarex Energy is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Nov 6.
Based in Minnetonka, MN, Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NOG - Free Report) is a major oil and gas explorer with presence in the Williston Basin.
The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has an Earnings ESP of +2.61%, that suggests a beat in the to-be-reported quarter. The company is slated to release third-quarter results on Nov 8.
Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (CRZO - Free Report) , based in Houston, TX, has strong foothold in domestic resources to carry on its exploration and production activities.
With a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +0.09%, Carrizo Oil & Gas is on course to report a positive earnings surprise.
The company is set to release third-quarter results on Nov 5.
Based in Houston, TX, Oasis Midstream Partners LP (OMP - Free Report) has interests in midstream infrastructure assets, across North America.
The partnership’s Earnings ESP of +6.38% and a Zacks Rank #3 make us reasonably confident of a positive earnings surprise. The partnership is set to report third-quarter earnings on Nov 5.
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