Shares of Chevron Corp. (CVX) are set to outperform the broader market following a period of underperformance, according to one team of bulls who views the oil and gas stock's recent weakness as a "compelling entry point" for investors.
(See also: Why Chevron's Stock May Plunge 12%.)
Chevron Risks 'More Than Priced Into the Stock'
In a note to clients on Monday, Goldman Sachs added Chevron to its Americas Conviction Buy List. The investment bank's 12-month price target at $142 implies a 13.2% upside from Wednesday morning. With trading up 0.2% at $125.47, Chevron stock reflects a modest 0.2% return year-to-date (YTD), compared to the S&P 500's 9.7% return and the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF's (XLE) 7.3% gain over the same period. Meanwhile, the price of Brent crude oil has increased by 20% over the same period, noted Goldman analyst Neil Mehta.
While bears have honed in on Chevron's poor earnings execution over the past year, project cost overruns, the expiration of production-sharing contracts, and downsides from changes to the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) emissions standards in 2020, Goldman views these risks as "overstated" and "more than priced into the stock."
Moving forward, Mehta views upside drivers including "solid" production growth through 2020, better-than-expected cash potential from Chevron's downstream operations, and an 8% free cash flow yield in 2019 with Brent crude trading at $70 per barrel, as noted by Barron's. Additionally, the analyst views the multinational energy corporation as benefiting from a "relatively constructive Brent crude price environment" in 2018 and through next year.
Meanwhile, ConocoPillips (COP), which has seen shares gain nearly 43% YTD, was downgraded to neutral by the Goldman analyst, who expects shares to cool off after its recent run. Goldman's price target for ConocoPhillips stock at $81 implies a 3.4% upside from Wednesday morning as shares trade roughly flat at $78.32.
(For more, see also: Oil to Hit $90 a Barrel: Morgan Stanley.)