Carl Icahn, the activist investor, dumped all his shares in Chesapeake Energy Inc. (CHK) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG), a move that shouldn’t surprise alert investors. Icahn has been slowly trimming his position in Chesapeake all year, most recently cutting his stake from 9.4% to 4.5% in August. At the time, Icahn claimed tax planning purposes as the reason for the Chesapeake selloff. The billionaire owned roughly 73 million shares of CHK worth about $329 million at the end of 2015. (See also: Selloffs, Subpoenas Shake Up Chesapeake Energy.)
It appears that Icahn is rebalancing his energy position, maintaining shares in Chenier Energy Inc. (LNG) and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) according to documents filed with the SEC Monday. Icahn also shaved 250,000 shares off his stake in CVR Refining LP (CVRR); he owned about six million shares worth roughly $113 million as of Dec. 31. (See also: Why Freeport Surged 26% Last Week.)
Forecasting Chesapeake Energy
In October, Chesapeake held an Investor’s Day to bolster confidence in advance of its third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 3. At that time, the company revised its production guidance upward and suggested a cash-neutral position was achievable in 2018. Chesapeake’s third-quarter earnings at $0.09 EPS significantly outperformed analyst expectations of -$0.03. (See also: Chesapeake Energy Rebounds after Investor Day.)
The current consensus rating for CHK is Hold, which has been stable since January 2015, when the stock was downgraded from Outperform. The median 12-month price target of the 26 analysts covering the stock is $7.13, with a high of $11 and a low of $2.50.
This week, Credit Suisse analysts reiterated their Hold rating and confirmed their $7 price target, noting the price reflected a potential 30% upside to current prices. The stock surged over 10% on Monday, closing at $6.05 on a volume of 66 million shares. It is down 0.82% for the year.