HomeTrading NewsExxon vs. Chevron? Goldman Sachs reveals its favorite — and other energy picks

Exxon vs. Chevron? Goldman Sachs reveals its favorite — and other energy picks

Energy stocks dropped last week as oil prices fell to a 15-year low , with the banking crisis roiling markets. The energy sub-sector in the S & P 500 dropped 7% last week, although it has since regained some ground, rising around 5% this week so far. Oil prices also rose over 1% on Monday. Amid the volatility, Goldman Sachs named the energy stocks it likes in a March 16 note. Exxon vs. Chevron For investors looking for a defensive play, Goldman analysts recommend Exxon as a top pick, adding that they prefer it over rival Chevron . “While the Exxon-Chevron debate is less clear than one year ago given a 34% spread between these stocks in the last 12 months, we continue to favor XOM for the depth of organic Upstream projects (LNG, Guyana) and Downstream growth initiatives (Beaumont, Chemicals),” they wrote. Upstream refers to crude oil and natural gas production, and downstream refers to oil refining. However, the analysts noted that some investors were turning more positive on Chevron. “There is a perception that a lower oil price/equity environment can create an opportunity for the company to bolster its portfolio through M & A — and given the strength of the balance sheet,” they added. Midstream sector Stocks in the midstream energy sector — comprising companies involved in the processing and storing of oil and gas — held up better than other areas during the recent pullback, Goldman said. That’s because it has lower direct exposure to the commodity, and longer-duration cash flows, the bank explained. “This has always been the hope for investors, but has often not been the case historically given significant outspend and challenged balance sheets,” the bank said. “This time, we have higher conviction that this relative outperformance can continue following three years of better capex discipline and material deleveraging.” Targa vs. Oneok Within midstream stocks, Goldman said it was “more positive” on U.S.-based companies Targa Resources and Cheniere Energy following the pullback. But it noted that within this group, Targa Resources as well as Oneok underperformed the more defensive names. “Of these two, despite seeing modestly worse performance vs. the other, we see a more compelling risk-reward on TRGP,” the bank’s analysts wrote, comparing Targa and Oneok. That’s because lower oil prices would not hit Targa’s operations as much as Oneok’s, they added. Investors wanting a more defensive stock within this corner of energy should consider Enterprise Products Partners , said Goldman. “We would expect EPD’s diversified footprint and ability to drive volume share gains via incentive rates / its large marketing business should also leave it fairly better positioned vs. peers,” the bank wrote. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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