Oil Sector – It Will Be Ugly : Protect your Assets

OPEC Gusher to Hit Weakest Players, From Wildcatters to Iran

The refusal of Saudi Arabia and its OPEC allies to curb crude oil output in the face of plummeting prices has set the energy world on a painful course that will leave the weakest behind, from governments to U.S. wildcatters.

A grand experiment has begun, one in which the cartel of producing nations — sometimes called the central bank of oil — is leaving the market to decide who is strongest and how to cut as much as 2 million barrels a day of surplus supply.

Oil patch executives including billionaire Harold Hamm have vowed to drill on, asserting they can profit well below $70 a barrel, with output unlikely to fall for at least a year. Marginal producers in less profitable U.S. shale areas, as well as countries from Iran to Russia and operations from Canada to Norway will see the knife sooner, according to analyses by Wells Fargo & Co., IHS Inc. and ITG Investment Research.

“We’re in a very nerve-wracking environment right now and will be for probably the next couple of years,” Jamie Webster, senior director for global crude markets at IHS said today in a phone interview. “This is a different game. This isn’t just about additional barrels, this is about barrels that are going to keep coming and keep coming.”
Investors punished oil producers, as Hamm’s Continental Resources Inc. fell 20 percent, the most in six years, amid a swift fall in crude to below $70 for the first time since 2010. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 4.2 percent to close at $90.54 in New York. Talisman Energy Inc., based in Calgary, was down 1.8 percent at 3:00 p.m. in Toronto after dropping 14 percent yesterday.

U.S. Supplies

A production cut by the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would have been the quickest way to tighten the world’s oil supplies and boost prices. In the U.S., supply is expected either to remain flat or rise by almost 1 million barrels a day next year, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency and ITG.

That’s because only about 4 percent of shale production needs $80 or more to be profitable. Most drilling in the Bakken formation, one of the main drivers of shale oil output, returns cash at or below $42 a barrel, the IEA estimates.

Many expect reductions to U.S. output to occur slowly because of a backlog of wells that have already been drilled and aren’t yet producing, and financial cushioning from the practice of hedging, in which producers locked in higher prices to protect against market volatility, according to an Oct. 20 analysis by Citigroup Inc.

Production Slowdown

With a sustained price drop to $60 a barrel, shale drilling would face significant challenges, according to Citigroup and ITG, especially in emerging fields in Ohio and Louisiana, where producers have less practice. ITG estimates it will take six months before lower prices slow production growth from U.S. shale, which is responsible for propelling the country’s production to the highest in more than three decades.

“It’s going to be very producer-specific,” said Judith Dwarkin, chief energy economist at ITG in Calgary. “Companies have to revise their budgets, then you see the laying down of rigs, then you see the fewer wells being drilled, then you see the natural decline rates starting to have more of an effect.”

Drilling in Western Canada may drop by 15 percent in 2015, according to a report today by Patricia Mohr, an economist at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto.

Different Strokes

The market pressure will hit shale companies in different ways. Many have spent years honing their operations to pull the most oil out of every well at the lowest cost, a process that can be as much art as science at the nexus of geology, engineering and infrastructure. That experience means some producers, such as EOG Resources Inc. and ConocoPhillips, can turn a profit at $50 a barrel.

Those companies will now capitalize on that expertise to keep drilling wells, and so far have even promised to boost production.

The idea that lower prices will pressure shale producers to produce less oil is “a fundamental error,” said Paul Stevens, a distinguished fellow at Chatham House in London. Such thinking has focused on how much it costs to drill new wells in new fields, ’’ he said. “But what really matters is the price at which it is no longer economic to produce from existing fields, and that is very much lower.”

Worst Pain

Some companies won’t be as fortunate, especially smaller operators that rely heavily on debt and are focused on new areas, where the most efficient production techniques are in the early stages of being understood. Such producers have for years outspent cash flow to develop properties that could pay off big in the future.

Goodrich Petroleum Corp. is one example. With a market capitalization of just $269 million, the upstart producer is developing a prospect in Louisiana and Mississippi that one rival called possibly one of the last great opportunities in North America. But drillers in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale need oil prices at about $79.52 a barrel, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Goodrich fell 34 percent to 6.05, the most ever.

Wells drilled by Hess Corp. in Ohio’s Utica formation, which has yet to produce significant volumes and is held in high esteem by many in the industry, also require nearly $80 a barrel for profitability, according to Citigroup.

Offshore, Too

The punishment wasn’t limited to shale. The day’s worst performing oil producer was offshore specialist Energy XXI Ltd., which has its principal office in Houston. It lost a record 37 percent of its value, falling to $4.01.

With cash flow shrinking from lower prices, the company may not be able to reduce debt until the market rebounds, Iberia Capital Partners analyst David Amoss, based in New Orleans, wrote today in a note cutting his rating to hold from buy. As of Sept. 30, Energy XXI reported net debt of $3.7 billion.

Plunging oil markets already have begun to pressure governments that rely on higher prices to finance their budgets, fuel subsidies to citizens and expand drilling. Venezuela’s oil income has fallen by 35 percent, President Nicolas Maduro said on state television Nov. 19.

Nigeria increased interest rates for the first time in three years on Nov. 26 and devalued its currency. The government is planning to cut spending by 6 percent next year, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Nov. 16. Both Nigeria and Venezuela are part of OPEC.

‘Real Victims’

Saudi Arabia has enough cash stockpiled to finance its budget for more than 20 years at an oil price of $80 a barrel, according to an Oct. 16 analysis from CIBC World Markets Corp. Russia has about six years of financial reserves at that price, but Iraq, Nigeria and Iran all have less than two years. Venezuela has less than six months, based on the analysis.

Several countries within OPEC such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela, as well as non-OPEC states such as Russia, Canada and Norway, “will end up being the real victims of lower oil prices in 2015 and beyond,” Roger Read, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said today in a note to investors. The countries “are unlikely to be able to maintain their production trends in the face of today’s oil price declines.”

“It’s pretty clear to me that the Saudis are no longer interested in being the world’s central banker for oil,” said John Stephenson, who manages C$50 million ($44 million) at Toronto-based Stephenson & Co. as chief executive officer. “It’s going to be ugly.”

I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.

On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge:

Company                                   (Ticker)                        Price Change
Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE:ETP)             $ 65.17 -4.13%
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)                $ 90.54 -4.17%
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)                       $108.87 -5.42%
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP   )                                 $ 66.07 -6.72%
Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (NASDAQ:VNR) $ 23.22 -6.86%
Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL)                                                  $ 14.66 -8.32%

Have you avoided this sector – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

 

YEAR END UPDATE AND FORECAST

NEW go to  http://youroffshoremoney.com/

November 2014 – 40 % cash position

Year End Review and Forecast

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email info@jackbassteam.com or

Call Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

A decade of increasing productive capacity has fattened supplies of commodities just as the world economy grows less commodity-intensive and investment demand wanes with traditional equity and bond markets performing well.

The idea that commodities were even a proper investment asset class for long-term investors was never fully demonstrated. Commodity prices tend to be mean reverting through successive cycles rather than instruments that produce cash income or build economic value.

Yet many in the financial industry promoted the idea of a “supercycle” fed by global industrialization and “peak oil” supply constraints. For sure, commodities look quite oversold in the short term and sentiment has turned severely against them, supporting the chances for a trading bounce or pause in the declines.

Yet even if the lows are in for oil or gold, the big picture is now looking decidedly less “super” for long-term commodity bulls. In one representative example of flagging investor interest in commodities, assets in the bellwether Pimco Commodity Real Return Strategy fund (PCRIX) have fallen below $13 billion – down by more than a third in two years.

 

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Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage BUY

NGVC : NYSE :

US$19.35 BUY 
Target: US$30.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Currently operating over 80 store locations, Natural
Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is a retailer focused
exclusively on natural and organic groceries (~65% of
sales), dietary supplements (~25% of sales), and
body/pet care products and health-minded books
(collectively ~10% of sales). Store locations span 14
states primarily across the Western US, with a geographic
concentration in Colorado and Texas.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.

Consumer & Retail — Health, Wellness and Lifestyle
A COMP RECOVERY SHOULD DRIVE VALUATION;

MAINTAIN BUY, $30 TARGET
Investment recommendation
We view Natural Grocers as well positioned in a favorable
industry with a growth equation that should drive attractive
revenue and EPS growth.
Investment highlights
 NGVC delivered EPS in line with consensus ($0.01 below us)
on $2M in revenue upside. Comps of 3.7% bested our 2.5%
estimate, and were very resilient despite heightened
competitive pressure.
 Quarter to date Q1 comp approaching 5%, bolstering our
confidence in the turn in comp momentum. A plethora of
initiatives, along with easing compares and new competitive
pressure having peaked should yield continued comp gains.
 F2015 EPS guidance in line with consensus and EPS growth
only impaired due to higher incentive comp YOY.
 F2015 EPS reduced $0.01 to $0.65, while we introduce
F2016 EPS of $0.79, equating to 21% growth.
 $30 target unchanged. The valuation of 28x forward earnings
looks full, but at 8.5x EBITDA we expect expansion. Our
target reflects 11.5x C2016 EBITDA.

Seadrill Sinks Into a Sea of Red and Takes Drillers Along

Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL) fell the most in six years after the offshore driller controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen suspended dividends as the slump in oil prices weakens demand for rigs.

Seadrill, which hadn’t frozen or cut dividends in six years, dropped as much as 19 percent in Oslo trading, the most since November 2008. The stock was down 17 percent to 118.3 kroner at 3:58 p.m., the lowest since July 2010.

“The decision to suspend the dividend has been a difficult decision for the board,” Fredriksen, chairman of Bermuda-based Seadrill, said in a statement. “However, taking into consideration the significant deterioration in the broader offshore drilling and financing markets over the past quarter, the board believes this is the right course of action.”

The plunge in crude prices since June is blowing through the oil-services industry as clients peg back spending on finding and developing fields. Transocean Ltd. (RIG), one of Seadrill’s largest competitors, earlier this month wrote down the value of its fleet by $2.76 billion. Halliburton Co. (HAL), the second-biggest oil-service company, is buying the third-largest, Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)

Seadrill, which paid owners $1 a share for the first two quarters this year, said in August that level was sustainable until at least the end of 2015. Today’s surprise decision will strengthen the company’s capital position by about $2 billion a year, the company said.

Reasonable Thing

“Suspending dividends entirely reasonable thing to do, since the market is looking so bleak,” said Robert Andre Jensen from SpareBank 1 Markets AS. “Fredriksen’s companies are known for paying dividends, but you have to focus on your chances to survive the downturn.”

By shoring up the balance sheet, Seadrill will protect itself from some financial markets, which have become “unattractive,” and give the company room to grow, possibly through acquisitions as the industry consolidates, it said.

Seadrill’s board also authorized a share-buyback program of as much as 10 percent of outstanding shares over the next 12 months.

The dividend freeze is “positive,” Janne Kvernland, an analyst at Nordea Markets, said in a note to clients. Still, it will “likely trigger a huge sell-off from yield investors which hold a considerable stake of the company, and pressure the share price in the near-term.”

Profit Decline

Both SpareBank 1 and Nordea recommend their clients sell Seadrill shares.Jack A. Bass said its accounts had been out of the sector since the start of the year.

Seadrill said net income fell 40 percent to $190 million in the third quarter.

The company said the near-term outlook for ultra-deepwater units had become “increasingly challenging.”

The Norwegian and U.K markets will remain “soft” as long as companies like Statoil ASA (STL), Norway’s biggest energy firm, continue to put rigs on standby or cancel contracts, Seadrill said.

Seadrill and its 70 percent-owned subsidiary North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NADL) have also suffered from the uncertainty international sanctions have created for a deal with Russia’s OAO Rosneft (ROSN), which includes $4.25 billion in offshore-rig contracts starting next year.

North Atlantic

North Atlantic today followed Seadrill in suspending cash dividends, which have grown or been maintained since the middle of 2011, citing a decision earlier this month to delay the Rosneft deal and a “significantly weaker” market. The shares fell as much as 18 percent in New York, and traded at $2.65 as of 10:12 a.m. local time.

“The Board believes that a suspension of the regular cash dividends will be in the best interest of all our shareholders, will better position the company to withstand near-term headwinds, and is the responsible course of action,” it said in its third-quarter report. Net income rose to $70.4 million from $68.9 million a year earlier.

Exxon Mobil Corp. said last week it was looking for alternative assignments for North Atlantic’s West Alpha rig, originally due to return to Russia next year after this summer’s successful exploration campaign with Rosneft.

“We continue to advance discussions on our agreement with Rosneft,” Seadrill said. “The incremental demand for offshore drilling in Russia is more likely than ever. Our first-mover advantage places the company in pole position to grow the Russian business, even after taking into consideration the current uncertainties around commencement dates.”

GAP – don’t drop your pants BUY

GPS : NYSE : US$40.14

BUY 
Target: US$47.00

Consumer & Retail — Specialty Retail
LONG-TERM MARGIN DRIVERS REMAIN IN PLACE;

OUR NEAR-TERM VIEW IS MORE CONSERVATIVE

 

Investment recommendation
We are lowering our Q4 EPS estimate for GPS by $0.09 to $0.68,
below prior consensus of $0.77. There is more work to do in the
Gap brand (38% of TTM sales) than we had previously
anticipated, particularly in the women’s business. As a result, we
are lowering our consolidated SSS estimate from flat to a decline
of 2.4% on top of +1%. Our gross margin forecast moves 50bps
lower, and we now expect 59bps of expense deleverage on the
lower sales. Our BUY rating remains intact despite the near-term
headwinds. We continue to expect supply-chain initiatives will
drive gross margin expansion over the long term. This does not
appear priced in with shares trading at 13x our C2015 EPS
estimate and 7x C2015E EV/EBITDA.
Investment highlights
 Art Peck will begin his CEO stint with two new brand
presidents. Jeff Kirwan (10 years with GPS, recently as
president of Gap China) will take the reins from Stephen
Sunnucks at the Gap brand in December, and Andi Owen (19
years at GPS, recently leading the Gap outlet business) will
head up Banana Republic beginning in January, replacing
Jack Calhoun.
 Our price target moves from $51 to $47 as we incorporate
our updated estimates into our DCF model.

TESLA – Attracts Mutual Funds

These 3 Funds Are Loading Up On Tesla
Benzinga By Kate Stalter
1 hour ago


Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) has been one of the more popular IPOs of the past few years.

The number of U.S. mutual funds and hedge funds owning the stock has steadily risen in recent quarters. With a market capitalization of about $30 billion, the stock fits into the large-cap category. It’s part of the consumer cyclical sector, so that’s another fund category where the stock may appear.

Despite Tesla’s market cap, it’s a volatile stock, with a beta of 1.87. That means it’s more volatile than the broader market. For funds with significant holdings in Tesla, that volatility may show up in changes to Net Asset Value.

Who Holds Tesla?

Harbor Capital Appreciation Fund (MUTF: HACAX) has a large-cap focus. It seeks to invest in companies with superior earnings and sales growth, improving sales momentum, growing profitability and strong balance sheets, among other factors.

The fund, sub-advised by Jennison Associates, invests primarily in U.S. companies with a market caps of at least $1 billion at the time of purchase. The fund holds 0.97 percent of Tesla shares, totaling 1.21 percent of fund assets.

DoubleLine Capital Owns Tesla Motors Shares As It Could ‘Change Society’ TheStreet q 54 mins ago

The Fidelity Advisor New Insights Fund (MUTF: FNIAX) holds 0.71 percent of Tesla shares, accounting for 0.79 percent of the fund’s assets. This fund, which was established in 2003, is managed by Will Danoff, who also manages the Fidelity Contrafund.

The Fidelity Advisor New Insights Fund invests in growth and value stocks of mid- and large-cap companies in the U.S. and overseas. Financial services, technology and healthcare are the largest sectors in the fund.

Its one-year return is 12.7 percent.

The JPMorgan Large Cap Growth Select (MUTF: SEEGX) holds 0.85 percent of Tesla shares, totaling 1.72 percent of fund assets. This is not a fund that a casual investor can just drop into; the minimum investment is $1 million.

The fund seeks to invests at least 80 percent of its assets in stocks of large, well-established companies with above-average growth, or that are forecast to have superior growth in the near future.

Top sectors are healthcare, technology and consumer cyclical. The fund’s one-year total return is 16.4 percent.

Splunk : Update Raising Target Price

SPLK : NASDAQ : US$64.94

BUY 
Target: US$80.00 

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Splunk software collects and indexes machine-generated big data
coming from the websites, applications, servers, and mobile
devices that power business. The firm’s software enables
organizations to monitor, search, analyze, visualize and act on
massive streams of real-time and historical machine data. Splunk
is headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 2003 and has
been public since April, 2012.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.

Technology — Enterprise Software — Infrastructure

AS SOLID AS EXPECTED. MOMENTUM WARRANTS PREMIUM VALUATION.
It is quite clear to us that investors are shifting money back into business software and
that the investments are tightly targeted toward perceived quality names. We strongly
believe Splunk is one of the best-in-class systems software firms, and arguably one of the
most promising companies in the broader software space. Obviously, SPLK is expensive,
but in software stock investing, execution trumps valuation for long periods of time. We
expect to see SPLK shares higher in three months, six months and a year. BUY.
 Bullish items. A larger revenue upside than last quarter. Product and use case
momentum. Major wins in Public Sector, Sporting Goods, Healthcare, Education and
Telco. Broader use cases for stream wire data. Sales restructuring by functionality
generated strong wins in security. Real-time data and analytics now deployed in
sports stadiums.
 Bearish items. Frankly, not much. We would like to see continued progress toward
the high end of 25-35% ratable revenues as a percentage of total revenues.
Operating margins were guided to be roughly flat next year, although we believe
there is upside to margin assumptions if revenues upside a bit. Finally, the obvious –
SPLK is highly valued at 13x and 10x our C2015 and C2016E EV/revenues.
 Sales excellence. The call had a large focus on continued strong sales performance
with 500+ new customers added, 290 orders above $100k, positive data points from
the segment-focused model, more than 70% of bookings from existing customers,
2/3rds of upsells from horizontal expansion and the largest ever transaction for
cloud (7 figures). The list goes on, but ultimately shows how SPLK’s sales organization is firing on all cylinders and a major reason for the company’s growth.

 Guidance update to bring positive revisions. Management increased revenue
guidance for the full year by $13.5M at the midpoint, mostly reflecting the $10M
beat in Q3. Operating margin guidance at 1-2% for the full year was increased from
1%. The company also released initial F2016 guidance for revenue of $575M. While
possibly still conservative, implying 31% growth over F2015 guidance, it was above
both our estimate and consensus, which should bring about positive revisions to
forecasts.

We raised our F2016 revenue estimate by $21.5M to $580M

Sell signals from Eric Sprott

Sell signals from Eric Sprott according to information published by the Canadian Insider, Mr. Sprott has made four separate sales since the end of September. In all, Mr. Sprott sold 375,000 units at prices ranging from US$10-to-US$9.44.

 

Bloomberg Despite those four sales – which resulted in gross proceeds of US$3.6-million — Eric Sprott still has almost US$35-million of skin in the game.

Over the past six weeks, Eric Sprott — one of the country’s best known gold bugs — has been selling units in the Sprott Physical Gold Trust, a fund formed to hold physical gold.

A

Here are the details: Sept. 30 (15,000 at US$9.96 per unit); Oct. 2 (40,000 at US$10); Oct. 31 (210,000 at US$9.62) and Nov. 6 (110,000 at US$9.44.) Despite those four sales – which resulted in gross proceeds of US$3.6-million — Mr. Sprott still has almost US$35-million of skin in the game. According to the most recent filing on SEDI, he owns 3.49 million units in the fund.

Related
Barrick Gold co-president joins insider buying spree
The gold mining meltdown is so bad even activist investors won’t touch it
Sprott adds to investment management team in Toronto, New York
In its IPO, the fund raised US$442.5-million. Since then it has been back to the market on six separate occasions and has raised almost US$2-billion. Its most recent offering was in September 2012.

Glen Williams, a spokesperson for Sprott, said in an email message. “We don’t comment on Eric’s personal trading activity but Sprott’s view on gold is unchanged.” Another Sprott source said that Eric has been using the proceeds to invest in gold and silver equities which offer greater leverage.

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