The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Exxon Mobil, Statoil, Chevron, Braskem and Cubist Pharmaceuticals

CHICAGO, May 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), Braskem S.A. (NYSE: BAK) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBST).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Exxon to Expand Julia Oil Field

Energy giant, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) started the development of the Julia oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. Per company estimates this would bore a hole of over $4 billion in capital costs. The Julia field, which was discovered in 2007, is expected to contain reserves of approximately 6 million barrels.

The company expects to start production at the oil field in 2016. Exxon is targeting to start with daily production of 34,000 barrels of oil. To speed up things the company has already completed the project front end engineering design of the project. It has also placed the requisite engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

The Julia field has five leases in the ultra-deepwater Walker Ridge area of the Gulf of Mexico, which is 265 miles southwest of New Orleans. The resource is located 30,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. The ownership of the Julia unit is equally shared between the operator, ExxonMobil and Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO). The oil field includes six wells with subsea tie-backs to Chevron Corporation's (NYSE: CVX) production facility Jack & St. Malo.

Exxon Mobil is the world's largest publicly-traded oil company, engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and production, petroleum products refining and marketing, chemicals manufacture, and other energy-related businesses. Approximately 83% of Exxon Mobil's earnings come from its operations outside the U.S.

Exxon Mobil is one of the world's best-run integrated oil company given its track record of superior returns on the capital employed. The energy giant has long been a core holding for investors seeking a defensive name with continued dividend growth. Exxon Mobil is fairly active in its investment program. The company plans to spend about $185 billion over the next five years, up 29% from the last five-year period.

The capital expenditure covers as many as 21 important oil and gas projects currently under the anvil and are estimated to accumulate over 1 million net oil-equivalent barrels per day by 2016. It includes the Kearl Oil Sands development project in Canada, four in West Africa and Kashagan Phase 1 in Kazakhstan. Exxon is also engaged in a large liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, which is expected to begin deliveries in 2014. It will further unearth more oil from the development of Hebron oil field offshore the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The development will help in recovering over 700 million barrels of oil and the platform is expected to yield its first oil towards the end of 2017.

Exxon Mobil holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, in the near term, a stock like Braskem S.A. (NYSE: BAK) with a Zacks Rank #1 is expected to outperform the market over the next few months.

Good News for Cubist Pharmaceuticals

Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBST) recently received encouraging news when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the company's antibiotic candidate ceftolozane/tazobactam (CXA-201) a fast track status in Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) indications, under the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act.

The FDA granted the fast track status to CXA-201 for the Hospital-Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia (HABP)/Ventilator-Associated Bacterial Pneumonia (VABP) and Complicated Urinary Tract Infections (cUTI) indications. The US regulatory body had granted fast track status to CXA-201 for treating complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI) in Feb 2013.

With the FDA granting CXA-201 QIDP status for the above indications, the antibiotic qualifies for multiple benefits including a 5-year extension of Hatch-Waxman exclusivity (on approval) and priority review.

We note that the GAIN act was signed into law by the US president in Jul 2012 as part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). The signing of the GAIN Act should benefit companies pursuing the development of novel antibiotics.

We remind investors that in Feb 2013, Cubist Pharma was granted a fast track status for CXA-201 in Complicated Intra-Abdominal Infections (cIAI).

Cubist Pharma is developing CXA-201 as a potential therapy for the treatment of serious bacterial infections in the hospitals. The company is evaluating CXA-201, currently in phase III, as a potential intravenous therapy for the treatment of cIAI and cUTI.

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