Despite yesterday's slight down day, which marked the first decline in the markets in over a week, the broader indices opened towards all-time highs, but have since pulled back as investors digest a decline in the banking sector. Even so, energy is one of the laggards again today as oil prices are pressured down towards the lower end of their recent range: the $45 per barrel mark. While prices still hover roughly $3 above that level for now, the recent action in the commodity is indicative of a decline back toward that lower level.
Leading the bearishness on the trade, investors have been skeptical of the renewed OPEC-plus-Russia production-cut extension, which was announced last week. You can read our analysis of those developments here. Adding to the pain today, Libyan production (recall that Libya has been exempt from production cuts) has been recovering from technical issues at a major oilfield. Daily production in the country now sits at 794,000 per day (according to the National Oil Corporation), pushing toward regaining the three-year, 800,000 barrel per day peak.
With that said, we want to provide some updates on oil names in the portfolio, as the market closes out the month of May.
Our view on oil remains the same, as the commodity continues to trade back-and-forth within its range: We aim to make our next purchases count, using as wide a scale as possible. While we are still believers in the long-term stories of our energy companies, we recognize that the near term is undeniably linked to the broader pessimism surrounding the commodity. But we do note that oil stocks today are showing more support than the commodity itself, indicative of the virtually straight-line declines in these names despite oil staying in a relatively steady range.
Our top name to buy on the list would be Schlumberger (SLB) , which is now trading around where the stock was when oil had fallen into the $30s, a dynamic that we view as irrational. At the beginning of April, we had trimmed a portion of our SLB position on an oil rally that we viewed as unsustainable (see here), and we believe the torrid decline in the name since has provided a buying opportunity.
With SLB yielding nearly 3%, we would look to buy at or below the $68 level (although we do view current levels as attractive for those who are unexposed). As we noted last week, the selloff underappreciates SLB's best-in-class cash generation, technological leadership, advancing domestic presence and international position for the longer-term recovery.
As for our other oil names, we do believe all are attractive here for those willing to wait out the long term, but we want to be careful with our use of cash and we want to be cognizant of sticking to our wider scales. Magellan Midstream (MMP) can be viewed as the safest name, given its 4.8% distribution yield (versus the paltry 10-year Treasury yield). Apache (APA) has consistently found support around the $47 level. Cimarex Energy (XEC) has been pressured more than the others over the past week, and we want to see evidence of some technical support, even though we believe the selloff is way overdone. We will keep members posted on any moves throughout today and this week.