That's where astute energy producers such as Apache (APA
) come in, says Byrne. Westwood holds the stock in most accounts, including the $250 million Gabelli Westwood Equity Fund. For years, the Houston outfit has been building up its natural-gas and coal reserves, funding acquisitions with equity offerings. Analysts say it got the reserves for a song, compared with the cost of building them from scratch. The result: "very strong positive earnings surprises," says Byrne. First Call's consensus estimate for first-quarter 2001 earnings (to be released Apr. 26) is $2.12 per share and $7.20 for the year 2001. Byrne's own forecast is $2.50 for the quarter and $8.25 for the year.
The stock, trading at 62, sells at a price-earnings ratio of only 7.5, based on Byrne's estimate for this year's earnings: her near-term target is 80. Christopher Wolfe, equity strategist at J.P. Morgan Chase, has a 12-month target of 90. Gene Marcial is on vacation.