BP - BP p.l.c.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
22.35
-2.07 (-8.48%)
At close: 4:02PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close24.42
Open22.97
Bid22.35 x 1200
Ask22.49 x 3100
Day's Range22.08 - 23.02
52 Week Range15.51 - 45.38
Volume23,182,007
Avg. Volume14,883,391
Market Cap74.569B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.64
PE Ratio (TTM)18.91
EPS (TTM)1.18
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield2.52 (10.32%)
Ex-Dividend DateFeb 12, 2020
1y Target Est36.98
  • This crushing double blow for the oil sector could force a wave of consolidation, say analysts
    MarketWatch

    This crushing double blow for the oil sector could force a wave of consolidation, say analysts

    A Saudi-Russia oil price war and economies shutting down from the coronavirus have dealt a harsh blow to the oil sector. Consolidation in some parts of the sector may come sooner than investors expect, say some.

  • Reuters

    Equinor to quit U.S. lobby group over climate policy

    Equinor will leave industry lobby group the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) over a disagreement about climate policy, the energy producer said on Friday. The Norwegian company is undertaking a review of its memberships of industry associations under an agreement with a group of institutional investors, the Climate Action 100+, signed last April. The Washington-headquartered IPAA represents thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States.

  • Reuters

    Falling Latam fuel demand leaves U.S. refiners without favored export customers

    MEXICO CITY/NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters) - Demand for refined products in Latin America is quickly drying up as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, leaving U.S. refiners without their primary export destination as the virus spreads. The crisis has nearly shut down worldwide air travel and is destroying fuel demand, which could fall by 15% to 20% globally in coming months. The virus had not hit Latin America with the same intensity as Europe or the United States, but it is increasingly spreading there, and a growing number of nations are imposing travel restrictions.

  • Moody's

    Aker BP ASA -- Moody's affirms Aker BP's ratings; outlook negative

    Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") today affirmed the Ba1 Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and Ba1-PD Probability of Default Rating (PDR) of Aker BP ASA's ("Aker BP") as well as the Ba1 ratings assigned to its senior unsecured notes. Concurrently, Moody's changed Aker BP's outlook to negative from stable. The Ba1 rating reflects the solid position held by Aker BP as a mid-sized oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) company on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), where it benefits from a stable operating environment and attractive oil and gas tax regime reducing the tax burden in a low oil price environment.

  • Reuters

    South Africa's largest refinery to minimise maintenance over coronavirus shutdown

    South Africa's largest refinery SAPREF will "minimise" maintenance to critical activities, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday, as a national lockdown looms to contain the spread of coronavirus. It accounts for 35% of the refining capacity in Africa's most advanced economy, which is a net importer of petroleum products.

  • Is Oil's Dividend At Risk?
    Zacks

    Is Oil's Dividend At Risk?

    Oil has experienced one of the most vicious selloffs in history, with WTI crude plunging over 60% since the beginning of the year

  • Fund giant BlackRock issues stewardship playbook as a proxy-season test and SEC rulings loom
    MarketWatch

    Fund giant BlackRock issues stewardship playbook as a proxy-season test and SEC rulings loom

    Fund giant BlackRock has released its stewardship playbook, a rough plan that furthers the industry-rattling pledge for sustainability from its leader Larry Fink earlier this year.

  • Reuters

    Eni to cut spending and buyback plans due to coronavirus fears

    Italian energy group Eni followed rivals on Wednesday by cancelling a share buyback and sharply cutting investments as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and falling oil prices. "Eni's priorities at the moment are safeguarding the health of our people and the communities we operate in, as well as our robust balance sheet and the dividend," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement. Oil prices plunged on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs said lockdowns to counter the coronavirus pandemic raised the prospect of the steepest ever annual fall in oil demand.

  • Barrons.com

    European Oil Stocks Pay Amazing Dividends — and They May Even Be Safe

    Royal Dutch Shell stock, which has fallen by 50% in a month, was yielding 16% on Wednesday. BP had a dividend yield of 14%. Goldman Sachs says the market is too pessimistic.

  • Pound sinks to multidecade lows as stocks reel from coronavirus concerns
    MarketWatch

    Pound sinks to multidecade lows as stocks reel from coronavirus concerns

    The pound tumbled to levels not seen in several decades, as investors flocked to the perceived safe haven of the dollar while stocks continued to tumble on fears of the coronavirus pandemic doing severe damage to the global economy.

  • Consumer companies could do the right thing — and gain loyal customers forever — if they helped combat the coronavirus
    MarketWatch

    Consumer companies could do the right thing — and gain loyal customers forever — if they helped combat the coronavirus

    About a week since the National Basketball Association shutdown shook North America into concerted COVID-19 crisis response, it’s become obvious that our way forward can’t only come from governments and health-care providers. Given that our health-care system is inadequate for the current crisis (due to economic reality and system design), we now need to enlist the help of society’s other powerful systems. The best way to begin envisioning how major companies can help — especially those with a big physical presence and (potentially idle) infrastructure — might be to start with a specific example: How to expand COVID-19 testing without overwhelming health-care providers and facilities.

  • Big Oil’s Big Crisis: Saving Sacred Dividends From Collapse
    Bloomberg

    Big Oil’s Big Crisis: Saving Sacred Dividends From Collapse

    (Bloomberg) -- To understand the crisis engulfing the world’s largest oil companies, just look at their dividend yields.Exxon Mobil Corp., for decades considered one of the bluest of blue-chip stocks, is paying investors 10%. For Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the Anglo-Dutch giant that hasn’t cut payments to shareholders since the Second World War, its 12-month dividend is equivalent to 14% of its current share price. BP Plc offers a yield of 12.4%, and France’s Total SA 11%.Yields at those levels typically suggest one thing: a significant risk that shareholders may not get the money they’ve been promised.No Big Oil executive would ever accept that’s true -- at least for now. Even as management teams confront both the catastrophic demand destruction wrought by the spread of coronavirus and an oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, they’re determined to keep paying.“Nobody wants to be the CEO who cuts the dividend,” said Noah Barrett, a Denver-based energy analyst at Janus Henderson Group Plc, which manages about $375 billion. “They understand that any company that cuts, its shareholders will flow into competitors and be very, very hesitant to ever come back.”To buy time, they’re taking the ax to capital expenditure. Exxon partially reversed course on an ambitious spending program on Monday, saying it’s weighing significant cuts after being downgraded by S&P Global Ratings. Shell’s outlook was revised to negative on Tuesday by the agency, and risks a rating downgrade unless it lowers its leverage and increases funds from operations.Shell, Chevron Corp., and Total may also choose to save money for dividends by reducing their share-buyback programs, which are typically seen by investors as more discretionary than the quarterly cash payouts.Chevron said last week that it’s reviewing options for cutting capital spending and curbing short-term production. BP Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said the British major could curb spending by as much as 20% this year.While market expectations for Big Oil dividends have reduced over the past two weeks, pricing in a 37% cut from 2019 dividends for European majors in 2021, Goldman Sachs analysts including Michele Della Vigna said that they do not expect a cut because of the current environment. “In past oil downturns, Big Oil on aggregate did not respond to challenging macro conditions through material dividend cuts,” they said in a research note Tuesday.Serious QuestionsEven before the crash in prices, Big Oil was in a difficult place. The industry was the worst performing part of the stock market as investors fretted about its ability to navigate the energy transition, invest enough in keeping their businesses going and meet their obligations to shareholders.“The situation as it stands looks pretty challenged for most of the oil majors, if you were to assume that prices will persist at these levels,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodity research at Legal & General Investment Management, one of the largest shareholders of major oil companies. “If it sticks for six, nine months, then there will be serious questions raised about the sustainability of dividends.”These companies’ sheer size gives them the financial flexibility to allow business to continue even in times of significant hardship. Beyond lower spending, Europe’s oil companies could opt to pay dividends to investors in scrip, where cash is substituted with new shares. BP’s Gilvary said this is one tool in his armory, but the company isn’t considering it right now.Letting debt rise is another option, but Exxon’s downgrade shows the limit of that strategy.“They’re going to have to lean on the balance sheet,” Barrett said. “At some point though, borrowing to pay the dividend is not sustainable.”Enduring PainShell declined to comment on its dividend. Exxon spokesman Casey Norton referred back to CEO Darren Woods’s comments at the March 5 investor day when he said the company is “committed to a reliable and growing dividend.” The company has increased the payout each year for the past 37 years.Maintaining and growing Chevron’s dividend is “top priority,” said spokesman Braden Reddall said by email, reiterating comments earlier this month from CEO Mike Wirth, who said Chevron is on track to raise its annual per-share payout for the 33rd time in 2020.The flood of Saudi crude onto the market, coupled with slumping demand as the world’s largest economies stop people from traveling and spending, threaten to create an unprecedented oil surplus that could weigh on prices for a long time.In an enduring slump, Shell’s first remedy would be to revise its share-buyback program. Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden already said in January the company would probably miss its target of buying back $25 billion of shares by the end of this year if the macroeconomic environment didn’t improve. Since then, oil prices have fallen by almost half.Investments in clean energy could also suffer if there’s a lasting downturn. The big European oil companies have been outlining increasingly ambitious strategies to tackle their carbon emissions that will, eventually, require significant capital expenditure.BP is the boldest so far, saying it will eliminate all its emissions from its own production and operations by 2050. Shell and Total have also made pledges to reduce emissions.While it’s unlikely that European oil companies will backtrack on their green commitments, low crude prices are typically not good for alternative energy, said Stansbury.Historic ShiftSome oil companies, notably Occidental Petroleum Corp., have already responded to the current slump by cutting dividends. The debt-laden explorer will reduce its 2020 payment by about $2.2 billion, or 86%, setting up CEO Vicki Hollub for a showdown with investors to determine her future.If Occidental’s decision sent a tremor through the market, then a dividend cut from BP or Shell would cause an earthquake. Those two companies paid out $22 billion in 2019, 20% of the FTSE 100 dividends. U.S. counterparts Exxon and Chevron hold the second and ninth spot as dividend payers on the S&P 500.Persistent periods of low prices can dramatically reshape the industry. Between 1997 and 1999, Saudi Arabia competed against Venezuela for market share, sending Brent oil prices to as low as $10 a barrel. A wave of mergers followed, creating the era of the supermajors -- Exxon coupled with Mobil, BP bought Amoco, Total combined with Elf, and Chevron merged with Texaco.Throughout this turbulent history, these companies have managed to translate a very volatile commodity into dependable cash flows. If European oil companies can no longer fulfill that role it would be a serious concession, said Legal & General’s Stansbury.“Cutting the dividend is “a decision no CEO wants to be associated with,” says Russ Mould, investment director at U.K. asset manager AJ Bell Plc. “It can cost you your job.”(Updates with S&P downgrade details in sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • BP (BP) Flat As Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    BP (BP) Flat As Market Gains: What You Should Know

    BP (BP) closed at $18.84 in the latest trading session, marking no change from the prior day.

  • Were Hedge Funds Right About BP plc (BP)?
    Insider Monkey

    Were Hedge Funds Right About BP plc (BP)?

    Coronavirus is probably the 1 concern in investors' minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW. We predicted that a US recession is imminent and US stocks will go down by at least 20% in the next 3-6 […]

  • GuruFocus.com

    Cobas Funds Commentary: A Letter to Investors From Francisco Garcia Parames

    Spanish investor addresses Covid-19 outbreak Continue reading...

  • BP Exec: Oil Prices Have No Path To Upside For Now
    Benzinga

    BP Exec: Oil Prices Have No Path To Upside For Now

    Oil prices were lower by nearly 10% Monday morning and likely have more downside potential as we will "likely see negative demand" for the commodity this year, BP (NYSE: BP) CFO Brian Gilvary said on CNBC.What Happened BP was modeling as early as February demand for oil to weaken by 300,000 to 500,000 barrels a day but still remain in positive territory. But instead of expecting a slower pace of growth, the oil giant is expecting demand for oil will contract -- a very rare event.Oil prices are under pressure after Russia and Saudi Arabia entered into a de-facto trade war and rising coronavirus related concerns are keeping many people at home across the world.Why It's Important The global oil market is dealing with a "demand-side shock" along with a significant amount of new oil scheduled to enter the market within the coming weeks, the CFO said.The company itself is operating from a "much stronger financial position" today compared to when Brent oil prices were at around $28 which is approximately $2 below the current price, he said.What's next for the oil market depends in part on what the "new normal" will be for the world, he said. The company is currently modeling Brent to rebound to around $40 a barrel in 2021, a figure which was actually modeled four years ago.Related Links:Coronavirus, Oil Crash Are 'One-Two Punch' To Stock Market, Says Warren BuffettBofA Downgrades 14 Oil And Gas Stocks In Face Of Oil Price WarSee more from Benzinga * How COVID-19 Is Impacting Restaurants * Carl Icahn Says Some Stocks Are Being 'Given Away' * Slack CEO Sees Increased Demand From Businesses Of All Sizes(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

  • 7 Drowning Energy Stocks to Avoid for Now
    InvestorPlace

    7 Drowning Energy Stocks to Avoid for Now

    Energy stocks are getting hammered along with the rest of the market, but for a slightly different reason.OPEC met with Russia last weekend, hoping to formalize an agreement to cut crude oil protection and raise prices. As the coronavirus from China spreads, oil prices keep falling, and the outbreak is certain to hurt the global economy.Saudi Arabia had already agreed to drop production to manage reduced demand and keep prices stable.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsBut Russia was having none of it. Not only did it reject the production cuts but said it would pump more to make up for OPEC's reduced supply. Apparently heated words were exchanged by the Russian oil minister and the next in line to the Saudi throne, Mohammad bin Salman.Saudi Arabia then moved to start an all-out price war.Oil prices fell, and then Covid-19 hit the U.S. Major economic activity became restricted to slow its spread. And oil prices dropped even more, as the market fell.These energy stocks are all F-rated in my Portfolio Grader tool that I use to find Growth Investor plays. Avoid these seven companies like Covid-19. Energy Stocks to Sell: Exxon Mobil (XOM)Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) is one of the world's largest integrated oil companies. Usually that's a good thing, since in troubled times it can cut back on say, exploration and production, and continue to focus on downstream marketing and retail sales.But in a situation like this, there is no sector of the business that is doing well. And it's too big to cut back across the board in any meaningful way quickly enough. That's the trouble XOM stock is in now.It's exposed at every level and its global exposure makes it worse, not better. There is no place to turn.XOM stock is off 47% year-to-date. And crude and natural gas prices continue to plummet. The upside is, it has a sizable 8.3% dividend that's pretty safe. But there could be more than that in downside left. BP (BP)Source: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com BP (NYSE:BP) is off 42% in the past month. Remember this is one of the oil giants and has a $90 billion market capitalization. This is not a small company where its stock price rises and falls like the sun.BP, like most of the other integrated oil majors, is in trouble because there's nowhere to turn in this kind of market. And now the global economy is looking shaky.And the fact is, if everyone is avoiding travel, shopping and public school, that directly and indirectly kills its business.Granted the stock is providing a 11.6% dividend now. But this is far too soon to jump in to get that. There's more downside left and that bottom hasn't been found yet. Meanwhile, other stocks have much better prospects due to revolutionary technology. ConocoPhillips (COP)Source: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is a major global exploration and production (E&P) company with other integrated operations. It has a good share of natural gas in its portfolio as well.But this is a very demand-based end of the business, and one of the most volatile. When energy prices were steady, it was ideal for COP since it could produce at a stable margin and create efficiencies to maximize those margins.Also, the U.S. economy was expanding, so it could sell into the market and deliver good numbers every quarter.Now, all that has changed. With decreasing demand, its access to and ability to supply energy products is not helping move the needle.The stock is off 56% in the past year, and 52% in the past month. The downside momentum is still very strong. Don't be tempted by its 6% dividend. Occidental Petroleum (OXY)Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) is another global E&P player. It also has some midstream and downstream operations, but its business is pulling energy out of the ground.And that's not a great business right now. As a matter of fact, it's a terrible business right now.The stock is off 82% in the past year and 70% in the past month. And you can be sure, it won't be long until its massive 26.8% dividend gets cut. I'm all for bargain hunting if a company is actually a good buy, but don't bottom fish this thing right now; it's still a falling knife.Carl Icahn announced this week that he is looking to pick up a 10% share of the company here. That may sound encouraging, but unless you have a very long time frame and as much capital to be wrong as Icahn does, your best bet is to avoid this one for a while. PetroChina (PTR)Source: IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com PetroChina (NYSE:PTR) is one of Asia's largest energy companies, but it hardly comes close to its global peers.It's one of two companies that supplies most of China with its energy needs and has created a fast-growing company that is building its global reputation by creating partnerships with larger majors.Yet while its long-term future is bright, given the support of the Chinese government, its short-term fate is a little less certain. First the U.S.-China trade war, and now Covid-19. That's a big one-two punch.The stock is off 50% in the past year and it has just announced that it's going to suspend shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) imports for at least the next quarter. That was a deal it had with XOM and others. That's not a good sign of the demand in China. Devon Energy (DVN)Source: Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) is a decent-sized North American E&P company, with a $2.9 billion market cap.While most energy companies are struggling here, this is a good example of how the upstream sector is being impacted. It's usually the sector that's most leveraged to supply and demand issues with oil and natural gas production. (The select few energy stocks that make my Growth Investor list right now are midstream and downstream companies).DVN stock is off 67% in the past month and 74% in the past 12 months. This is a difficult trend and it's not a place where you should walk in thinking the worst is over.It's possible there may be an overreaction to the potential for a global recession, but it's not worth betting on right now.This is a risky sector that shouldn't be a risky investment, given all the oil and natural gas in the North American shale deposits where DVN works. Steer clear for now. Cimarex Energy (XEC)Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com Cimarex Energy (NYSE:XEC) is another E&P that's half the size (by market cap) of DVN. Yet its problems are just as big.XEC operates in the Southwest shale regions, including the big daddy of them all, the Permian Basin. But it doesn't matter how much oil and natural gas you can produce if there isn't a market that wants it.Shutting down wells or running them at half capacity is not what E&P companies want to do. But that is what has to be done. Some analysts are betting that this situation is overblown and are stepping in, but they're in the very small minority.The stock is off 62% in the past month and 78% in the past 12 months. This is another one to avoid in one of the hardest-hit sectors in the energy patch.The bottom line, though, is that energy companies are in a terrible position right now. Besides $30 per barrel oil, you have to consider that in the United States the stocks are basically not sold in 33 blue states; they're divesting due to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing philosophies.Instead, the companies I'm particularly keen on now are facilitating the spread of ultra-fast internet worldwide -- anywhere there's a cell tower. The 5G Buildout Is an Incredible Opportunity for Investors Right NowWithin two years, most cell phones will be 5G enabled and be able to wirelessly handle television streaming. With 5G, we'll have cable modem speeds on any device; no need to plug in. That's a big deal for rural areas … the very same areas that are also key to President Donald Trump's reelection. So, by pushing 5G over the goal line, Trump will deliver a big win for his base -- and strike a blow against Chinese rivals like Huawei Technologies.But, in the big picture, 5G is about much more than trade wars and faster downloads. Because 5G is 100 times faster than 4G, it'll allow your internet devices to work in real time. That advancement is a game changer for tech companies.With the 5G infrastructure market set to grow at an annual rate of 67% over the next 10 years, the entire market will go from $780 million to nearly $48 billion. This buildout is where I see opportunity with 5G stocks now.Cable companies can do their best to fight back with fiber optics … but they can't compete with the convenience of a smartphone, once it's got ultra-fast 5G. That's how my 5G infrastructure play will capture more market share from the broadband cable companies.The stock I'm targeting is enjoying an influx of big money on Wall Street, and it has strong fundamentals, too -- making it an "A"-rated "Strong Buy" in my Portfolio Grader system.Click here to watch my new, free briefing on this extraordinary technology and the opportunity with 5G stocks.When you do, you'll see how to claim a free copy of my new stock report, The Netflix of 5G, which has full details on this company -- and what makes it such a great investment.Louis Navellier had an unconventional start, as a grad student who accidentally built a market-beating stock system -- with returns rivaling even Warren Buffett. In one recent feat, Louis discovered the "Master Key" to profiting from the biggest tech revolution of this (or any) generation. Louis Navellier may hold some of the aforementioned securities in one or more of his newsletters. More From InvestorPlace * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Wealth Gap Secret * 7 Stocks to Sell as We Enter a Bear Market * 4 Energy Stocks Paying Jaw-Dropping Dividends * 3 Stocks to Buy That Will Dodge Any Volatile Market The post 7 Drowning Energy Stocks to Avoid for Now appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • TechnipFMC Clinches EPCI Contract for Angola's Platina Field
    Zacks

    TechnipFMC Clinches EPCI Contract for Angola's Platina Field

    Per TechnipFMC plc (FTI), the contract worth a value of $75-$250 million includes the provision of subsea equipment and a production manifold with associated subsea control and connection systems.

  • Market Recap: Tuesday, March 10
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Market Recap: Tuesday, March 10

    All major indices finished the session in the green on Tuesday, clawing back some of the losses from Monday's sharp market sell-off. The Final Round panel discusses the latest.

  • Barrons.com

    So What Will Europe’s Oil Majors Look Like at $35 a Barrel? Morgan Stanley Has Run the Numbers

    After the bloodbath caused by Saudi Arabia’s decision to ramp up output, European oil companies at first blush look enticingly cheap.

  • The Oil Crisis Is Even Worse News for Shell and BP
    Bloomberg

    The Oil Crisis Is Even Worse News for Shell and BP

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The collapse in crude prices has brought into relief the correlation between oil majors’ financial leverage and the valuation of their shares. It’s a relationship that looks like particularly bad news for the bigger European firms.Investors’ knee-jerk reaction to the downward lurch in the oil price was, naturally, more severe toward the companies that were more indebted. So shares in BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Equinor ASA and Eni SpA suffered more than Total SA and the two big U.S. majors, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., when European markets closed on Monday.Investors’ worries about leverage are longstanding. The top five European oil majors have a ratio of net debt to total capital — a leverage measure known as gearing — averaging 28% based on their 2019 annual results. Meanwhile, Exxon and Chevron were at 20% and 15%, respectively, at the full year, according to Bloomberg data. Valuations based on forward earnings have historically been lower in Europe than in the U.S., and analysts have suggested that leverage may help explain why investors rate the European sector less favorably. As research from UBS Group AG noted ahead of Monday’s sell-off, balance-sheet strength would define which oil majors got “less badly hurt” in a market where there would be no winners.Despite these dynamics, the most levered of the European groups have been making relatively slow progress at debt reduction, and the latest crisis is only going to hamper this further. BP and Shell’s gearing is already above their own near-term targets of 20%- 30% and 25% respectively. These targets assumed a different environment, and preventing gearing going back up would require some painful compromises around uses of cash.Shell’s free cash flow in 2019 was only just enough to cover its dividends and debt interest, adjusting for working capital and excluding what it made selling assets. That was with oil prices in the $55-$70 per barrel range, against around $37 now. Capex was also already below the company’s stated floor, and the group has just gone through a colossal efficiency program following the 2016 acquisition of BG Group. As for debt reduction, this is a terrible market in which to be selling assets. True, Shell could scrap its share buyback program, but that would halt progress on reducing the share count and in turn the absolute cost of the dividend. BP, on the other hand, provocatively raised its dividend last month, anticipating cash from recently agreed-on disposals and from the sale of a putative $5 billion worth of assets yet to find buyers. But the number put on that fresh divestment program must now be in doubt.The oil crisis should force a fresh appraisal of gearing targets and dividend levels. But investors crave the income, and the pressure to maintain payouts will be immense. The firms with lower leverage may feel they have earned the right to let borrowings tick up as a way of maintaining investment and cash to shareholders. For others, Shell in particular, the room for maneuver is more limited. Defending the dividend is likely to mean finding more costs and capital expenditure to cut, just when investing in the energy transition is the top strategic priority.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at chughes89@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nicole Torres at ntorres51@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Market Recap: Monday, February 9
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Market Recap: Monday, February 9

    The Dow plunged even further into the red on Monday, finishing the session down over 2,000 points as the coronavirus outbreak continues to hammer Wall Street. The Final Round panel discusses the day's broad declines, and what could come next.

  • European stocks suffer worse trading session since financial crisis as Saudi Arabia starts oil-price war and Italy locks down region
    MarketWatch

    European stocks suffer worse trading session since financial crisis as Saudi Arabia starts oil-price war and Italy locks down region

    European stocks dropped on Monday by the most since the financial crisis, after Saudi Arabia started a price war and Italy locked down a key region.