The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apache, Pioneer Natural, Resolute Energy, Cimarex Energy and WPX Energy

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 10, 2017 - 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 Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA - Free Report ), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD - Free Report ), Resolute Energy Corp. (NYSE: REN - Free Report ), Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC - Free Report ) and WPX Energy Inc. (NYSE: WPX - Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

5 Ways Permian Basin Oil Boom Can Make You Rich

Following a plethora of jumps and drops, the price of crude oil rose an impressive 45% last year. With OPEC's first production cut in years, a pro-energy administration entering the White House and very few new oil discoveries amid increasing demand, the commodity has since stabilized within a range above $50 per barrel.

While it's hard to predict whether oil will soar again and energy will outperform all other sectors this year, there's reason to believe that 2017 could be an excellent one for oil stocks.

One oil-producing region that continues to attract investors is the low-cost Permian Basin - spread over west Texas and New Mexico. According to some estimates, the region - that has been churning out crude continuously for nearly 100 years - has produced in excess of 30 billion barrels of oil since output began in 1921.

Incredibly, despite that impressive output history, analysts maintain that its best days have yet to come. In fact, the Permian Basin is key to the studies that say U.S. has now overtaken industry giants Saudi Arabia and Russia in recoverable oil reserves.

Permian Basin: Hot Area for Producers

A sedimentary basin lying underneath the western part of Texas and the south-eastern part of New Mexico, the Permian Basin Shale covers roughly 75,000 square miles, almost half the size of California.

Experts say that it's cheaper to drill and complete oil wells in the Permian Basin than most other major fields. Moreover, there are certain parts of the shale play whose well-returns are the best in the U.S. With crude prices still down significantly from their 2014 levels, well returns have become a very important metric to gauge profitability.

Permian's attractive economics means that producers can still make money there at the current, just over-$50-a-barrel price. This is mainly because of the region's extensive pipeline infrastructure, plentiful labor and supplies, and relatively warm winters that makes year-round work possible. Most other domestic shale regions need prices above $60 to support new developments and expansions.

As a result, the Permian currently constitutes a lion's share of the industry's recovery. In 2016, more than a third of the total amount spent on all U.S. deals was spent on Permian land purchases and leases. No other major oil region in the country came close to this activity.

Permian Deals Galore

According to analysts, deals in the Permian Basin could push up the value of the group as a whole. With its relatively low break even cost, the Permian Basin is likely to attract more transactions of this nature in the near future. Also, with their new-found confidence, companies could soon be venturing into other oil rich areas. The new administration has already indicated that it would likely review regulations limiting drilling activities in Alaska and in other parts of the U.S.

Meanwhile, late last year, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that it has discovered the biggest deposit of untapped oil in the U.S., located in the Wolfcamp shale formation in the Midland Basin portion of Permian Basin. (Read: USGS Just Discovered the Biggest Shale Oil Field in America .)

5 Permian Basin Oil Stocks to Buy

With the hectic pace of land grab set to continue in the Permian basin and investor's strong appetite for stocks focused in that region, we have shortlisted 5 companies that might fetch you outstanding returns. Each of our picks boast of a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which justifies a company's strong fundamentals. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Founded in 1954, Houston, TX-based Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA - Free Report ) is one of the world's leading independent energy companies engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. In particular, Apache's recent Alpine High discovery in Delaware sub-basin, a section of the Permian, is expected to be a gamechanger for the company. Estimated to hold massive oil and natural gas reserves, the wells are said to have strong economics and top-tier returns.

Second on the list of interesting opportunities in the Permian Basin is Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD - Free Report ). An independent oil and gas exploration and production company based in Irving, TX, Pioneer's growth continues to be focused on the Permian operations. Its world-class assets in the region is likely to see year-over-year production growth between 30% to 34% in 2017.

Denver, CO-based Resolute Energy Corp. (NYSE: REN - Free Report ) is another independent oil and gas finder in the U.S. with primary focus on its Permian Basin properties. Divided into the Appaloosa and Mustang project areas in Reeves County in the Delaware Basin, Resolute Energy's Permian Basin drilling program continue to deliver compelling results. Third quarter production from the properties jumped more than 100% year-over-year, contributing meaningfully to cash flows.

Our fourth choice is Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC - Free Report ), an energy explorer with its exploration and production activities taking place primarily in two areas: the Permian Basin and the Mid-Continent region. The Denver, CO-headquartered entity invests around 60% of its exploration and development expenses in the Permian region and hopes to see first production from five wells in early 2017.

Finally, we have Tulsa, OK-based independent oil and gas operator WPX Energy Inc. (NYSE: WPX - Free Report ). Shifting its portfolio from Colorado's Piceance Basin to Permian's Delaware basin, the company plans to drill about 75 wells this year. WPX Energy entered the Permian Basin in 2015 following the $2.75 billion acquisition of privately held RKI Exploration, gaining 92,000 net acres in the prolific play. Importantly, the company's acreage acquisition cost at that time was much lower than current levels, providing further impetus to its returns.

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2017

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest tickers for the entirety of 2017?

Who wouldn't? These 10 are painstakingly hand-picked from 4,400 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. They are our primary picks to buy and hold. Be among the very first to see them >>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free .

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Apache Corporation (APA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD): Free Stock Analysis Report

Resolute Energy Corporation (REN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Cimarex Energy Co (XEC): Free Stock Analysis Report

WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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