Credit Suisse Analyst Cool on Smaller Oil Stocks (CRZO, KOG, WLL)

Oil pumpjack
Oil pumpjack

Exploring for crude oil and gas is not cheap, and the smaller companies that are involved in the search often run up against problems with cash flow, credit availability and limited reserves, among many other things. Over the past six months, however, stocks in a few of these companies have been been punching above their weight, at least according to analyst Mark Lear at Credit Suisse.

The analyst has cut his ratings on three firms this morning: Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO), Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: KOG) and Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL). And each cut came for a different reason.

Carrizo was cut from Neutral to Underperform because the firm's leverage is too high to be overcome in terms of creating long-term value. The current price of the stock is around $22, and Credit Suisse has lowered its price target on the shares to $20. The consensus target is slightly more than $30, and today's change is lower than the bottom of the range from 16 brokers.

Kodiak was cut from Outperform to Neutral, even though Credit Suisse thinks the firm is well-positioned to create long-term value for shareholders. The stock's share price is being propped up by the company's frequent mention as a takeover target. The price target for Kodiak has been lowered from $12 to $10, and the current price is about $9.30. The consensus target price is around $11.30 from 18 brokers.

Whiting was also cut from Outperform to Neutral on the basis of "the exhaustion of the company's high-return inventory in Sanish [in the Bakken play] and future growth being driven by projects with diminishing returns." Credit Suisse cut its target price from $55 to $52, well below the consensus target price of around $59.40 from 33 brokers.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Analyst Calls, Commodities, Oil & Gas Tagged: CRZO, KOG, WLL