Oil exploration and production company ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) has been trending lower for the last year and a rally over the last two months may have investors feeling optimistic. However, there are a number of indicators that may prevent the rally from continuing and those indicators come from all angles—fundamental, sentiment, and technical analysis.
Let’s look at the technical side first. Conoco has jumped sharply since mid-August as oil prices rallied as well. Unfortunately for Conoco shareholders the stock is now facing resistance in two forms. We see on the weekly chart that over the last nine months a downward sloped trend channel has formed with the highs from the first quarter forming the upper rail. The lows from last December and August connect nicely to form the parallel lower rail. The rally in the last two months brought the stock up to the upper rail, but the stock couldn’t break through the resistance and has since fallen.
The second layer of resistance comes from the 52-week moving average. It is in such close proximity to the upper rail that you can barely see where it is right now. This could make it very difficult for the stock to move higher in the coming months.
Turning our attention to the fundamental indicators, Conoco saw its earnings decline by 7% in the second quarter and the upcoming third quarter report is expected to show a decline of 28.7%. The company reported EPS of $1.36 in the third quarter of 2018 and right now the consensus estimate is for the company to report EPS of $0.97. For 2019 as a whole, analysts expect to see the company’s earnings decline by 11%.
Earnings aren’t the only indicator that is declining either. Revenue was down by 9% in the second quarter and analysts expect revenue to decline by 9.3% for 2019.
Conoco does have some positive fundamental indicators working in its favor. The return on equity is at 17.1% and its profit margin is at 25.2%. The ROE is in the average range for most companies and the profit margin is above average.
The Tickeron Valuation Rating of 74 indicates that Conoco is slightly overvalued in the industry. A rating of 1 points to the most undervalued stocks, while a rating of 100 points to the most overvalued stocks. This rating compares market capitalization estimated by our proprietary formula with the current market capitalization. The current valuation isn’t bad with a P/E ratio of 9.34. Unfortunately with earnings and revenue declining the forward P/E is at 13.72. In most instances when a company is doing really well, the forward P/E tends to be lower than the trailing P/E.
The Tickeron PE Growth Rating for Conoco is 85, pointing to worse than average earnings growth. The PE Growth rating is based on a comparative analysis of stock PE ratio increase over the last 12 months compared against S&P 500 index constituents. With the earnings expected to decline in the current year and earnings expected to grow by only 5% for 2020, the current PEG ratio for Conoco is only 0.16. The average PEG ratio for the oil and gas exploration and production sector is at 1.07.
Despite the downward trend in the chart and the drop in earnings and revenue, the sentiment toward Conoco is still really bullish. There are 21 analysts covering the stock with 18 “buy” ratings and three “hold” ratings. This puts the buy percentage at 85.7% and that is a much higher buy percentage than the average stock.
The short interest ratio for ConocoPhillips is only 1.6 and that is below average. This also indicates greater bullish sentiment than the average stock. The average short interest ratio tends to fall in the 2.7 to 3.3 range.
When you combine the declining earnings and revenue with the downward trend in the stock it isn’t exactly encouraging for the stock moving forward. When you add in the fact that there is more optimism being displayed toward the stock than the average stock, you get a scenario that tends to point toward the stock moving lower in the months ahead.