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Chevron gets upgraded by Raymond James

NEW YORK (AP) — Raymond James upgraded Chevron on expectations of the first growth in production since 2010 and lower spending on liquefied natural gas.

Analyst Pavel Molchanov pointed out Tuesday that company shares are down 11 percent in 2014, falling faster than the Standard & Poor's 500 and the S&P energy sector. He raised his rating to a "Strong Buy" from "Outperform," and compared Chevron situation to that faced by Exxon Mobil Corp. in October, before its shares rose about 20 percent over two months.

Chevron faced a cyclical peak in capital spending and a downturn in refining margins last year, Molchanov wrote. He said spending on liquefied natural gas was peaking so cash flow growth would resume, and the company was forecasting growth in production of less than 1 percent during 2014.

While the production forecast was underwhelming, "it still marks the first year of output growth since 2010," Molchanov wrote.

Chevron Corp., based in San Ramon, Calif., reported last week that fourth-quarter profit dropped 32 percent on lower production and tighter refining margins. The company earned $21.42 billion on revenue of $220.16 billion in 2013, down from $26.18 billion and revenue of $230.59 billion in 2012.

In trading before the market opened Tuesday, Chevron shares rose 95 cents to $112.09.

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