The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Transocean, Weatherford International and Halliburton

Nov 13, 2013, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 the Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM-Free Report), Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX-Free Report), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG-Free Report), Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT-Free Report) and Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL-Free Report).


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

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Oil & Gas Stock Roundup

Integrated: Major integrated players were mixed, with the top gainer being Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM-Free Report). The world's largest publicly traded oil firm added 4.0% to its share price last week. Exxon Mobil continues to build on its strong momentum from the previous week, when it came out with a quarterly beat, backed by higher liquid and natural gas prices. Investors also cheered Exxon Mobil's move to restart work in Madagascar, four years after the company announced force majeure following a military coup in the island nation.

San Ramon, CA-headquartered energy behemoth Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX-Free Report) was another solid performer. Shares climbed 2.7% during the week after the company signed a deal worth up to $10 billion with Ukraine to explore the country's shale gas deposits, which is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies. Moreover, the supermajor's court case in Manhattan – to dispute a $19 billion environmental verdict it faces in Ecuador over pollution – took an interesting turn, as the judge who issued the ruling seemed to have little knowledge about his own order.

Overall, however, most of the 'Big Oil' is suffering from marginal or falling returns irrespective of the crude price movement, reflecting their struggle to replace reserve base and maintain production growth, as access to new energy resources becomes more difficult.

E&P: While all crude-focused stocks stand to gain/lose from rising/falling commodity prices, companies in the exploration and production (E&P) sector are the most affected, as they are able to extract more/less value for their products. Last week, the SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index traded down 1.7%.

Top decliners include WPX Energy Inc., which plunged 14.7% after coming out with disappointing third quarter results. Plagued by lower natural gas prices, the Tulsa, OK-based energy explorer's net loss almost doubled, while being much wider than anticipated. Operating performance was also impacted by a decline in total production volumes, compounded by an increase in operating costs. Moreover, the company's volume guidance was on the weaker side, as it continues to struggle with infrastructure issues in its Marcellus Shale operations.

Oilfield Services: The oil services group – represented by the Philadelphia Oil Services Sector Index – was up 1.5% through the week.

Leading the pack was offshore driller Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG-Free Report), which jumped 12.4% through the week after it delivered a standout quarter. On Wednesday, the Switzerland-based firm reported larger-than-expected earnings and revenues for the three month ended Sep 30 on the back of improved rig utilization and average dayrates.

Two of the best performers last week were  oilfield service biggies Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT-Free Report) and Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL-Free Report), shooting ahead of their peers with additions of 4.3% and 3.9% to their respective stock prices. Weatherford moved higher after it beat profit view and inked deals with the U.S. government to settle longstanding corruption charges.

Moreover, the Geneva-based drilling equipment manufacturer named a new CFO, which boosted investor sentiment and removed uncertainty regarding the company's future leadership. On the other hand, Halliburton on Wednesday said its board approved a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share, up 2.5 cents, or 20%, from the prior quarter.

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

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