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The CEO of Houston-based ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) added several million dollars to his compensation in 2019, and while the company’s median employee compensation also rose, it didn’t do so in proportion with the CEO’s pay. CEO Ryan Lance made $30.38 million in total 2019 compensation, up from $23.42 million the prior year, according to the company’s two most recent proxy statements. During that same period, the median employee compensation rose from close to $164,000 to more than $186,000.
Unsurprisingly, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has not been immune to the oil bust. Even with recent robust sessions, Chevron stock has lost 36% of its value so far in 2020.Source: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com To some investors, the plunge no doubt looks like an opportunity. Chevron remains one of the world's great energy companies. It's a dividend aristocrat: an 8.4% increase in its dividend in January marked 33 consecutive years in which the company had raised its payout. That dividend now yields an attractive 6.8%.But investors buying Chevron stock on the dip need to keep one thing in mind: the world has changed. Indeed, Chevron itself shows just how much the energy industry has changed.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsWith an understanding of those changes, the opportunity in CVX stock isn't quite what it appears. The stock should be attractive for energy bulls betting on a rebound. But investors simply looking for a "cheap" quality name likely have better opportunities elsewhere in the market. Security Analyst MeetingOn Mar. 3, Chevron held its Security Analyst Meeting. At the time, energy stocks already were struggling. Soft fourth-quarter earnings from both Chevron and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) dented optimism toward the sector. Chevron stock traded at a four-year low. XOM stock, incredibly, had touched its lowest level in 15 years. * 10 Stocks to Buy That Will Benefit From Coronavirus Mayhem But Chevron sounded optimistic regardless. The company outlined a plan to return $75 to $80 billion to shareholders over the next five years through dividends and share repurchases. That figure was nearly half Chevron's market capitalization of roughly $175 billion.Adjusted free cash flow was expected to double by 2024, with return on capital employed clearing 10%. To any energy investor looking to buy the dip, the outlook made Chevron stock look exceedingly cheap.Five days later, Saudi Arabia started an "all-out price war" in crude oil. Oil prices plunged. Unsurprisingly, so did Chevron stock, which declined over 15% on the news.By Monday's close, it had declined another 44% from where it closed the day before its analyst meeting. Shares touched a 14-year low. Chevron RespondsWith Brent crude below $30, Chevron's outlook is quite different. Just three weeks after guiding for annual shareholder returns averaging over $15 billion, the company suspended share repurchases altogether. Chevron will keep its dividend -- chief executive officer Michael Wirth told CNBC that the payout "is our number one priority" -- which suggests 2020 returns under $10 billion.Guidance for 2020 capital and exploratory spending is being cut 20%. Production in the Permian basin is coming down by the same amount. Operating costs are being cut as well.Chevron is retrenching. It's going to cut costs, lower production, and look to wait out this cycle.But the impact is severe. It's worth going back to the fourth quarter report on Jan. 31, itself not all that long ago. In its earnings presentation, Chevron noted that a $1 move in the per-barrel price of Brent crude would hit cash flow by roughly $450 million.Brent crude has fallen about $24 per barrel since then. That's a hit to cash flow of over $10 billion. Lower production will only add to the pressure.In 2019, Chevron generated operating cash flow of $27.3 billion. Capital expenditures were $14.1 billion, and still are guided to about $16 billion in 2020.Cut $10 billion off that operating cash flow and free cash flow is almost totally erased. The Decline in Chevron StockLooked at from that perspective, the broader decline in Chevron stock is not an overreaction.To be sure, Chevron still will be profitable in this oil price environment. It's not going to go bankrupt.But Chevron also has a market cap back over $100 billion. The dividend is going to see pressure going forward if oil prices don't recover. Indeed, payouts from Exxon and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) are at risk. As Tezcan Gecgil wrote for InvestorPlace this week, the same is true for BP (NYSE:BP). We've already seen a big dividend cut from explorer Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), though its disastrous acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum is to blame.With run-rate free cash flow likely to be relatively thin going forward, Chevron stock actually is pricing in a rebound in oil prices. And, to be fair, it's possible that rebound will come. There is growing skepticism that Saudi Arabia can hold the line in the price war. Russia may give as well.But that doesn't mean Chevron stock is undervalued here. Rather, it's another piece of evidence to suggest that the market's response has been somewhat rational. In a "lower for longer" environment, Chevron's earnings will plunge. So will its free cash flow.That's why Chevron is scrambling to cut costs and lower production just three weeks after it was giving an optimistic five-year outlook. The oil business has changed dramatically. It only makes sense that the Chevron share price would do the same.Vince Martin has covered the financial industry for close to a decade for InvestorPlace.com and other outlets. He has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Wealth Gap Secret * 10 Stocks to Buy That Will Benefit From Coronavirus Mayhem * 5 Bank Stocks to Buy Now Because This Isn't 2008 Again * 12 Stocks to Buy That Are Already Positive The post Chevron Stock Shows Just How Much the World Has Changed appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Even the 'Big Oil' companies don's seem to be immune to this price crash as evidenced by spending cuts by supermajors Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and TOTAL S.A. (TOT).
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The critical element when ripping off a Band-Aid is speed. Chevron Corp.’s cut to its spending budget and suspension of buybacks, announced Tuesday morning, hurts of course. Looked at another way, though, it merely acknowledges the injuries inflicted already. It also leaves a certain large rival whose name rhymes with MexxonObil looking like a laggard again, so that probably helps.No Western oil company’s economics balance at $25-ish a barrel. The market knows this; hence, energy stocks currently vie with the similarly challenged Materials sector for the title of smallest in the S&P 500. Under such circumstances, and with oil demand having dropped into a chasm of pestilence, the prudent thing is to abandon even minimal growth and conserve as much cash as possible without wrecking the business or one’s relationship with investors altogether. Chevron is cutting its capex budget by 20% and, having bought back $1.75 billion of stock in the first quarter, suspending repurchases until further notice.Cutting guidance isn’t pleasant, but given the drop in the stock already, there’s no need to disburse more cash: Even without the buyback, Chevron yields more today on pure dividend than it did on its analyst day. There’s little point funneling more cash to investors if they aren’t valuing it. A similar situation exists for ConocoPhillips, which trimmed capex and cut, but didn’t suspend, its buyback program last week. That leaves one mega-cap U.S. oil and gas producer that is yet to adjust course.Exxon Mobil Corp. had the unfortunate timing of defending its counter-cyclical spending splurge the day before OPEC+ broke up in acrimony and sealed the oil market’s fate. The company has since indicated it is evaluating potentially big cuts to spending, having suffered a credit-rating downgrade from Standard & Poor’s in the meantime. But details are yet to come, and Chevron’s move leaves Exxon looking flat-footed.Exxon now yields more purely on its dividend, but that indicates higher stress. Forecasts for 2020 are in flux to say the least. Still, using Ebitda as a proxy for cash from operations, current consensus figures imply Chevron needing to borrow a little to cover capex and payouts and Conoco covering from cash flow. Both have strong balance sheets. Exxon, on the other hand, has been borrowing or selling assets to cover dividends for a while. And consensus forecasts indicate cash flow won’t cover capex, let alone the roughly $15 billion dividend payout.Despite Tuesday morning’s bounce in oil prices, the market still faces the prospect of storage potentially being maxed out within a couple of months or so — which would precipitate a further crash. It is, therefore, perhaps too early to speculate on which oil stocks offer relative safety and gains on the other side of this crisis. Yet Chevron’s and Conoco’s yields, post spending cuts, look relatively robust. Chevron's stock is up 17% as of writing this. Exxon’s yield may be higher, but the Band-Aid hasn’t come off yet.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.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.
Major energy producer ConocoPhillips may be taking its chances on 11 new oil and gas wells in the Eagle Ford Shale even as oil prices fall well below $30 per barrel. Operating as Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co. LP, ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) submitted applications with the Railroad Commission of Texas last week for permission to drill 11 new wells in DeWitt County's Eagleville Field. The future well sites are spread across two leases the company holds in DeWitt, one near the border with Karnes County and another 15 miles northwest of the more centrally located town of Cuero.
Unfortunately for some shareholders, the ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) share price has dived 58% in the last thirty days...
What a difference a month has made for Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG) stock. The company had been among the best-performing and best-run shale drillers. But now it is in serious financial trouble: driven massive returns since its 2012 initial public offering, it has since touched an all-time low on Wednesday.Source: Shutterstock The problem for FANG stock, however, is that the selloff actually makes sense. That claim seems bizarre given that the stock has declined 78% in just a month. It's not bizarre in the context of the industry and the balance sheet, however.More simply, it's not bizarre because the world is different for Diamondback than it was just a month ago. This is an industry that has a history of "boom and bust" cycles. The bust has arrived, and it's too early to be forecasting another boom for the stock.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips FANG Stock Rallies After Q4 2019 ResultsIt's incredible to review Diamondback's fourth quarter 2019 results, released after the close on Feb. 18, with the benefit of hindsight. The quarter was well-received -- shares rallied more than 6% the following day -- and with good reason.Average production rose 5% quarter over quarter, and 50% year over year. Diamondback doubled its dividend to $1.50 annualized, offering (at the time) a 2% yield. * 10 Stocks to Invest In for a Post-Coronavirus Whipsaw In the release, Diamondback noted that it had raised $3 billion in debt with an investment-grade rating. And it spent another $200 million in the quarter to repurchase stock.In the "old" shale environment, that all was good news. But in the light of an "all out price war" instituted by Saudi Arabia earlier this month, the quarter looks very different. Looking to 2020The ramp in production, for instance, is going to reverse in a hurry. Diamondback has given a "minimum one-month break" for all of its completion crews. The rig count by the end of the year will drop by more than half. Production will steadily decline over the course of the year. Diamondback is trying now to save some of the capital spending it made just months ago.Diamondback has said it will protect its now-doubled dividend, but a cut may be on the way. The $200 million in share repurchases look disastrous: Diamondback paid an average of $82 per share for a stock now traded at $17.The investment-grade balance sheet still holds -- for now. But a cut to "junk" by ratings agencies at this point is just a formality. Diamondback's 5.375% senior notes, due 2025, are priced at 79 cents on the dollar. They yield over 10% to maturity.This simply is a different company. And it's not because Diamondback management was foolish, or dishonest, in February. It's not because investors weren't paying attention. It's because the Saudis moved, and crude oil, at the West Texas Intermediate spot price, went from $53 in February to $31 right now.At that price, much of Diamondback's acreage isn't economical, which is why production is being slashed. Its cash flow is going to plummet, which is why its share price has plunged.To be sure, there are reasonable debates as to whether FANG stock should be at $27 instead of $17 -- or $7 instead of $17. But from a broad standpoint, the decline in FANG stock is not a panic-driven selloff. The outlook is substantially worse than it was a month ago, and so the same should be true of the share price. Yes, Bankruptcy Is a RiskAnd the worst-case scenario is in play. Diamondback generated $3.1 billion in adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2019. That figure is going to be slashed going forward. A 40% reduction in prices and much lower production both suggest most of those profits are going to disappear.Yet Diamondback has nearly $5.4 billion in debt. That in turn suggests that debt-to-EBITDA probably clears 6x (at least) looking to 2020 numbers.That's a dangerous multiple. It's actually about in line with where Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) sat last year as its own bankruptcy fears began to accelerate.To be clear, a single multiple doesn't mean Diamondback is going into bankruptcy. It almost certainly won't do so any time soon, given that most of its debt doesn't mature until 2025. The company has plenty of time to respond to the new environment, and to hope for higher prices to return.Still, as long as bonds are yielding 10%, it's important to remember that the worst-case scenario still exists. FANG stock has dropped by 80%, but if everything goes wrong it could fall another 100%. The Case for FANG StockAfter all that gloom and doom, it's important to point out that there is a bull case for FANG stock from here. The fact that crude has plunged doesn't negate the fact that the company has proven to be one of the better-run shale operators out there.In fact, Diamondback sailed nicely through the first shale bust in the middle of the last decade. The drop in WTI to $30 is a different animal, admittedly, but I'd rather bet on oil prices rebounding with FANG than with, say, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), whose stock is reeling from last year's disastrous acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum.But Diamondback needs crude to rally for its stock to rally. As long as WTI stays below $35, I'm skeptical there's enough earnings power to support much more than the current $3 billion market capitalization. And there are other options out there. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Apache (NYSE:APA) both are intriguing plays on a rebound.To be sure, an investor can create a smart thesis for choosing FANG stock as the best play on a rebound in crude. And going forward, there is hope. The balance sheet is in decent shape by sector standards. Management has been solid. Other drillers are going to cut back their own production -- and many will fail. Over time, that may allow for prices to recover.The point, however, is that investors have to build a thesis for Diamondback stock looking forward -- not simply buy because the stock is down so far. After all, many of those investors might have made a similar case at $30, when FANG already was more than 70% off 2019 highs. The stock has fallen since then. Don't forget that it could fall further still.After spending time at a retail brokerage, Vince Martin has covered the financial industry for close to a decade for InvestorPlace.com and other outlets. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Wealth Gap Secret * 10 of the Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy in a Bear Market * 7 "Perfect 10" Healthcare Stocks to Buy Now * Where the FANG Stocks Sit in This Wild Market The post Diamondback Energy Stock Isn't Worth Chasing Here appeared first on InvestorPlace.
In the current bear market, the company has lost a large chunk of its value, but its fundamentals are strong Continue reading...
ConocoPhillips (COP) could be a stock to avoid from a technical perspective, as the firm is seeing unfavorable trends on the moving average crossover front.
“Our industry is clearly experiencing an unprecedented event brought about by simultaneous supply and demand shocks. The actions we are now taking reflect an acknowledgement of current events as well as uncertainty around the timing and path of a recovery.”
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.
ConocoPhillips cut its 2020 capital-spending budget and share-buyback plan due to the recent drop in oil prices.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- With oil crashing below $25 Wednesday morning, the U.S. exploration and production sector is in critical condition already. Beyond the frackers and the majors, though, the double dose of coronavirus and OPEC disintegration is also tearing at the sinews that power it.Oilfield services contractors were still dreaming wistfully of getting back to their pre-2014 health when 2020 rolled around. Halliburton Co., for example, will have to find a new nickname: “Big Red” now has a market cap of about $5.5 billion, down from roughly $50 billion two years ago. Another sector is in danger of vanishing altogether: master limited partnerships.Technically, MLPs aren’t actually a sector; just a particular financing structure that tends to be used for pipelines and other vital logistical bits of the energy business. Regular readers (hey, a man can dream) know I have one or two quibbles with the MLP structure, mainly due to its weak governance resulting in overleveraged companies with insiders and regular investors often at cross purposes — and evaporating unit prices. As investors have given up, particularly on the institutional side, many midstream companies have abandoned the structure altogether, becoming regular C-corps in order to tap a wider pool of money more comfortable with traditional governance and financial metrics.Last September, I totted up the market cap and free float of a sample of 83 North American midstream firms (many of these companies, apart from the C-corps, have a significant sponsor shareholder). Just six months ago, it was striking that the entire sector had a collective market cap of only $575 billion, of which just $484 billion of was actually traded.Golden memories, it turns out. Since then, a few companies have been acquired, so we’re down to 80. Their collective market cap as of Tuesday’s close: $327 billion. To give a sense of how small that is, it is only slightly bigger than the combined market cap of just three large oil producers, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips — and that’s after their recent, massive sell-offs. The free float of the midstream group is a mere $271 billion. Moreover, C-corps dominate that, accounting for three quarters. You do the math on what that leaves for MLPs.As firms have converted to more-liquid C-corps and the entire sector has dropped, the number of barely-there companies has risen. Six months ago, roughly half the group had an average free float of less than $600 million, already too small for any but the most dedicated money managers to bother with. Today, 58 of the group, or almost three quarters, have an average float of about $400 million.There is a vicious cycle at work here, one which predated the latest crisis but has been amped-up by it. As liquidity in a lot of the sector dries up, so institutional investors are deterred even further, making it worse. At the same time, as bigger companies have converted to C-corps and been withdrawn from MLP indices, so the latter are rebalanced among the remainder — generally smaller companies with weaker performance, making the sector as a whole even less attractive.It has been apparent for a while that the larger remaining MLPs, such as Enterprise Product Partners LP, should convert to C-corps and access a bigger pool of potential investors as their old pool shrinks. For various reasons, usually related to insiders’ control and the tax hit on their low-basis positions in the partnership, some have held out. Yet the collapse in valuations confronts both rationales with a simple question: How much do you really have to lose at this point?Implacable as that is, change is hard. Just on Wednesday morning, Marathon Petroleum Corp. said it had concluded a strategic review of 63%-owned MPLX LP and decided to retain the MLP structure partly on the grounds it “will remain an important, through-cycle source of cash” for the parent. Against that, MPLX currently sports a distribution yield of 29% and has consistently yielded north of 10% since late September, way before coronavirus showed up and OPEC+ imploded.The abrupt shift in oil supply and demand exposes the overbuilding that resulted from midstream’s earlier excesses. That doesn’t mean all assets are suddenly worthless. But the sheer uncertainty about the shape (and scale) of the U.S. energy business that will emerge from this crisis means midstream’s fight for capital, which it was losing already, has become even more desperate. It simply cannot afford to remain chained to a structure whose heyday was more than five years ago and is now evaporating in front of our eyes.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.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.
U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips said on Wednesday it will cut 2020 capital budget, production and reduce its share repurchase program due to weak oil prices. ConocoPhillips, which became the latest oil producer to revise its budget, said it will lower its spending by about 10%.
ConocoPhillips said Wednesday it is cutting its 2020 capital budget by 10%, or about $700 million, as it works to adjust to steep falls in crude prices. The reduction will be achieved by reining in development activity and deferring drilling in Alaska. The reductions are expected to impact 2020 full-year production guidance by about 20 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOED). The company will also scale back its stock repurchase program to a run rate of $250 million starting in the second quarter from a previous run rate of $750 million. Combined, the moves are expected to reduce 2020 cash use by $2.2 billion. "Our industry is clearly experiencing an unprecedented event brought about by simultaneous supply and demand shocks," Chief Executive Ryan Lance said in a statement. "The actions we are now taking reflect an acknowledgement of current events as well as uncertainty around the timing and path of a recovery." Shares fell 8% premarket and are down 61% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has fallen 11%.
The energy sector is comprised of companies focused on the exploration, production, and marketing of oil, gas, and renewable resources around the world. Popular energy sector stocks include upstream companies that are primarily engaged in the exploration of oil or gas reserves. Well-known companies in the sector are Hess Corp. (HES) and Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG).
Energy investor EnCap Investments pulled off a rarity in the U.S. shale business earlier this month, the $2.5 billion sale of oil producer Felix Energy to rival WPX Energy Inc, striking a deal at a time when energy mergers have all but dried up. EnCap's big payday, 153 million WPX shares valued at $1.6 billion plus $900 million in cash, proved short-lived as convulsing oil and stock markets knocked nearly two-thirds off the value of WPX shares within days of the closing. Many already are reeling from oil prices that last week fell the most in a decade, to about $31 a barrel, and falling demand from an global economy weakened by the coronavirus.
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.