Weak global demand owing to the coronavirus outbreak has led oil prices to trade in the bearish territory, especially in the last two months of the March quarter. The last month of the quarter saw the steepest decline in first-quarter 2020, since OPEC and Russia failed to agree on how much oil production to cut amid the pandemic.
Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), average prices of West Texas intermediate (WTI) crude for the last two months of the March quarter were recorded at $50.54 per barrel and $29.21 per barrel, respectively. In comparison, average prices of the commodity were recorded significantly higher at $54.95 per barrel and $58.15 per barrel, respectively, in the last two months of first-quarter 2019. Only, the first month of the March quarter witnessed an increase in WTI oil price.
Like oil, the pricing scenario of natural gas has also been weak owing to a mild winter and an oversupplied commodity market.
Energy Players to Take a Hit
Weak commodity prices are likely to have hurt energy players in the March quarter of 2020. Per the latest Earnings Preview, the Energy sector is likely to have seen year-over-year earnings decline of 29.2% in the quarter on 7.9% lower revenues.
Among the leading energy players that recently reported downbeat quarterly results is BP plc BP. The company’s results largely reflect the drop in oil equivalent production, commodity prices and refining marker margin. In particular, the coronavirus pandemic has hurt the company’s upstream and downstream business to a large extent.
Energy giants Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM and Chevron Corporation CVX also reported a drop in year-over-year earnings in the March quarter owing to the weakness in commodity prices. However, strong production from the prolific Permian basin led the energy majors to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Key Releases on May 6
Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at how four energy players are placed ahead of their first-quarter results, slated for release on May 6.
Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD is a leading oil and natural gas exploration and production firm.
Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Pioneer Natural this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the chances of an earnings beat. That is not the case here as the upstream energy player has an Earnings ESP is 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Pioneer Natural Resources Company Price and EPS Surprise
Pioneer Natural Resources Company price-eps-surprise | Pioneer Natural Resources Company Quote
Apache Corporation APA is also a leading oil and gas exploration and production company.
Our proven model conclusively predicts an earnings beat for Apache this time around since the company has an Earnings ESP of +1.33% and a Zacks Rank #3.
Apache Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Apache Corporation price-eps-surprise | Apache Corporation Quote
Marathon Oil Corporation MRO is a leading upstream energy player.
Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Marathon Oil this time around since the company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3.
Marathon Oil Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Marathon Oil Corporation price-eps-surprise | Marathon Oil Corporation Quote
Cimarex Energy Co. XEC is an upstream firm with footprint in Anadarko and Permian basins.
Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Cimarex this time around since the company has an Earnings ESP of -0.02% and a Zacks Rank #5.
Cimarex Energy Co Price and EPS Surprise
Cimarex Energy Co price-eps-surprise | Cimarex Energy Co Quote
Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential
The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $775 billion by 2024 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases.
Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Our recent biotech recommendations have produced gains of +50%, +83% and +164% in as little as 2 months. The stocks in this report could perform even better.
See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Apache Corporation (APA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Chevron Corporation (CVX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Cimarex Energy Co (XEC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.