Markets thrive on risk, but risk is hard to talk about. It’s easy to fall back on cliches – buy low and sell high, or the bulls and bears make money while the pigs get slaughtered – but those cliches have drifted into common parlance for a reason. They have a grain of truth.
Buying low and selling high has always been known as the way to make a profit, from the earliest days of human barter. And whether the market is moving up or down, whether investors follow a bullish or a bearish strategy, it’s possible to turn that profit.
So, let’s talk about buying low. While the overall market has recovered nicely from the pandemic swoon of mid-winter, many stocks are still struggling with a depressed share value. Some of them are fundamentally sound – and Wall Street’s analysts have taking note.
Using TipRanks database, we pinpointed three such stocks. Each is down at least 60% so far this year, but each also has a Strong Buy consensus rating and at least 40% upside potential for the coming months.
Diamondback Energy (FANG)
First up is Diamondback Energy, a Texas oil company that has been part of the Permian Basin boom which put Texas once again at the forefront of the North American oil industry. Diamondback is a smaller player in its industry and its operations are entirely within the Permian, where it is producing some 170,000 barrels of oil daily. While this number is up 40,000 barrels from the springtime, Diamondback has been hit hard by low oil prices in recent months and the stock is down 68% year-to-date.
The low prices on the open oil market have impacted Diamondback’s bottom line, and earnings have been falling steadily from their $1.93 per share peak in 4Q19. The 1Q20 EPS was $1.45, while Q2 earnings came in at just 15 cents. The company is set to release third quarter figures on November 3, and the outlook calls for 37 cents – an improvement, but still down. However, it’s important to note here that Diamondback has beaten the earnings forecasts in the last three quarters.
On a more positive note, company management points out that despite recent low earnings, FANG was able to end Q3 without touching its revolving credit facility – and that the company has over $2 billion in liquid assets available. Combined with rising production, this gives the company a solid footing.
JPMorgan analyst Arun Jayaram, looking at the Texas oil sector and Diamondback’s place in it, sees the company as well-positioned to survive in a low-price environment.
“We have consistently viewed FANG as one of the top-tier operators in the industry, and given the recent weakness in oil prices, the mgmt. team has made the prudent decision to sharply reduce activity levels. Given a focus on continuous cost reduction, we believe the company has the inventory depth and balance sheet strength to be a relative outperformer through the downturn,” Jayaram wrote.
Jayaram rates FANG shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $48 price target suggests a 68% upside potential by next year. (To watch Jayaram’s track record, click here)
Overall, the Strong Buy consensus rating on FANG is based on 11 recent Buys against a single Hold. The stock is selling for $28.58 per share, and its $52.10 average price target is even more bullish than Jayaram’s, implying an upside of 82%. (See FANG stock analysis on TipRanks)
ChampionX Corporation (CHX)
Next up is ChampionX, an oilfield technology company acquired its current name this past summer, through the merger of Apergy Corporation and ChampionX Holdings. The combined company kept Apergy’s trading history, and took on the new ticker, CHX. This is a midstream company with operations in the drilling, production, pipeline, and water technology segments of the oil industry. It’s a diversified portfolio of operations that gives ChampionX plenty of room to maneuver in a bearish oil market.
ChampionX may need all of that maneuvering room, as the shares are down 76% this year. As with Diamondback, the chief culprit is low oil prices cutting into profit margins. Even though, as a midstream and service company, ChampionX does not directly pull the oil out of the ground and sell it, its operations are tied to the end users’ purchase price. In 2Q20, EPS turned sharply negative with a 43-cent per share net loss. This comes even as revenues rose in Q2, to $298 million.
Scotiabank analyst Vaibhav Vaishnav sees CHX in a good place after improving its positioning as a services company.
“With the merger with Ecolab’s Upstream business, CHX is now among the top two players in the production chemicals business. This business is relatively very stable as it focuses on production rather than drilling and completions activity. Essentially, daily U.S. or international oil production is the primary driver," Vaishnav opined.
To this end, Vaishnav rates CHX an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. He gives the stock a $12 price target, indicating confidence in 48% upside growth for the coming year. (To watch Vaishnav’s track record, click here)
Overall, CHX has 6 Buys and 1 Hold supporting its Strong Buy consensus rating. With a bullish average price target of $14.09, Wall Street’s analysts see a 73% upside potential from the current share price of $8.11. (See CHX stock analysis on TipRanks)
Gol Linhas (GOL)
From the oil industry, we move to the airline industry. It should come as no surprise that an airline, even a budget carrier, would face serious difficulties in the current environment of social distancing, trade and travel restrictions and disruptions, and economic shutdowns. Gol Linhas is Brazil’s premier low-cost air carrier, and the country’s third-largest airline. The difficulties facing the airline industry are apparent in GOL’s 62% share price decline since the start of the year.
The hit Gol Linhas has taken is clear from the revenues and earnings. At the top line, the 17% sequential revenue drop in Q1 deepened to 88% in Q2, when the company brought in just $357 million. Quarterly revenues for GOL were above $3.8 billion before the corona crisis.
The drop in revenue brought a serious loss in earnings. The company typically sees a drop off from Q4 to Q1 in earnings, and this year was no exception. The bright spot was, Q1 beat the forecast and beat the year-ago number. Q2, however, was disastrous, with an 81-cent EPS net loss. While not as deep as the $1.10 expected, it was a serious hit for the company. The outlook for Q3 is no better, at minus 80 cents.
The long-term, however, looks better for this budget carrier. Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg sees GOL with several paths forward – although he believes that real returns will not come in until after 2021.
"As we believe 2020 and 2021 will not be representative of GOL’s normal earnings potential, we are basing our 12-month PT on our 2022 forecast as GOL and the global airline industry begin to recover from the effects of COVID-19," the 5-star analyst noted.
In line with this long-term optimism, Linenberg sets a $10 price target, implying an upside of 40% over the next 12 months. Accordingly, he rates the stock a Buy. (To watch Linenberg’s track record, click here)
Wall Street agrees with Linenberg on the long-term potential here, and GOL’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on a unanimous 5 Buys. (See GOL stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.