Apache Finds Oil. Now What? We Still Say Sell!

Last Wednesday, Apache Corp. announced a significant natural resource discovery in Texas. After several years of exploration and testing, the company estimates the find at 3 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves on over 300,000 acres of land in west Texas.

The energy sector has seen multiple casualties this year so far. Peabody went bankrupt in April, 2016, just a few months after Arch Coal filed for Chapter 11. Energy companies struggle to stay in business as oil prices remain low and the green movement continues to pick up pace.

So, does this mean the company is in for some good times? Or can we expect little change to Apache’s sluggish performance?

The news drove Apache’s stock up 6.7 percent on Wednesday to $55.13 per share, ending the week up 15 percent. Although the stock value was up, the company, together with 80.7 percent of the energy sector, still was a SELL. It has been in the SELL range since February, 2015.

The reason for the rating is because company has been losing money since 2014. It lost $12.9 billion in the third and fourth quarters of 2015, and an additional $616 million loss in the first and second quarter of 2016.

The estimates of large amounts of oil and gas don’t necessarily mean the company will improve.

First, if the projections are accurate, it can take a long time until the results are seen on the company’s financial statements. Reserves can be much smaller than anticipated, and sometimes a portion of them may be not usable. The company could also consider sitting on the reserves until oil becomes more scarce, and then pull in the big bucks.

An intraday trader may have benefited from the stock price reaction to the news, but as a long-term investment, Apache may be too risky. The company pays a fair dividend of 1.7 percent, but has weak rewards and high risk involved. So we’re still saying sell.

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