Occidental Petroleum (OXY) reported a very strong fourth quarter showing thanks in large part to $1.2 billion gain in gas and oil profit. Fourth quarter profit climbed 56% overall for the huge Los Angeles based oil company sparking some volatile stock trading recently.
A leading contributor to the company’s success is its Dolphin project. The project based in the United Arab Emirates in the largest energy program ever in the Middle East. A big focus of the project is development of cleaner, more efficient fuel for the Southern Gulf.
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Fourth quarter earnings rose $1.45 billion, which amounts to $1.74 per share. This was a significant increase over last year’s fourth quarter which saw $930 million in earnings, or $1.09 per share. High gas prices around the world helped Occidental Petroleum see revenue rise from $4 billion to $5.5 billion.
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Thomson Financial had predicted earnings of $1.69 per share for the company. The 5 cent per share higher earnings than anticipated definitely gave the stock help in the eyes of investors. Stock trading is usually more volatile after market surprises.
Exxon Mobil, another oil giant, saw record profits during 2007. Many commodities providers have been seeing strong results thanks to worldwide strong prices. Crude oil recently saw a record high above $100 per barrel. Energy demand continues to be fairly strong globally and Occidental seems poised to maintain its ability to maximize profits.
Occidental received $80.30 per barrel of oil during the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with $52.55 per barrel during the same timeframe in 2006. Most of the increase can be credited to strong worldwide demand growing faster than supply. In spite of slightly higher operating expenses, much of the cost differential goes directly to Occidental’s profit margin.
Occidental currently nets over $66 per share, but analysts are expecting the stock to soar, with a one year price target putting the stock above $81 per share. The company offers a $1 annual dividend, making it a great addition to any personal stock portfolio or long-term stock trading strategy.
Current ideas on near-term growth in oil demand is somewhat mixed. Most experts believe oil prices will continue to rise as global demand outpaces to supply. There was a bit of a surprise recently as the US service sector showed some signs of tightening, which sparked greater concerns of a pending recession. However, recent surveys by the Energy Information Administration show high prices should likely continue.
Investors performing diligent stock research are likely somewhat confused on the next move for Occidental. The company soared to a high above $80 per share in early January. A buy cheap investment strategy might entice buyers soon with the stock’s $14 fall into the start of February. Oil futures have dropped to around $90 per barrel of late as many investors are betting on further price slides. The possibility of moderately lower prices has likely been factored into the current Occidental share price. A move back toward $100 could see a strong return to the $80 price point.
An aggressive strategy for the conservative investor might be to buy shares now with a modest stop loss. Oil looks strong over the long term and a reasonable dividend makes Occidental a reasonably safe addition to a trading portfolio.
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[tags] Los Angeles, Dolphin project, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Southern Gulf, Thomson Financial, Exxon Mobil, Energy Information Administration, OXY, Occidental Petroleum Corp., covered call strategies, investing in stock options, investment strategy, personal stock portfolio, poweroptions, stock help, stock investing, stock market help, stock market investment strategies, stock options, stock research, stock trading [/tags]