Stocks nosedived this week. While tech stocks were among the hardest hit, the sell-off was rather indiscriminate. Consequently, investors can pick up some great bargains across the market.
One sector that the market threw into the discount bin was oil, with several producers plunging double digits this week. Because of that, investors have a chance to pick up some top-notch oil stocks for a much lower price. Three that stand out are Hess (NYSE:HES), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO). Here's a look at why this week's sell-off looks like it could be a great opportunity to buy these oil stocks.
Becoming a cash flow machine
Shares of Hess have fallen about 10% in the past week. While oil has eased a couple of percentage points off its high, the U.S. benchmark, WTI, is still in the low $70s while the global benchmark, Brent, is in the $80s. That's plenty high enough for Hess to produce a gusher of cash flow.
To put that pricing level into perspective, Hess currently has the resources to grow its production at a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2023. That forecast puts the company on track to increase its cash flow at a 25% CAGR over that time frame as long as Brent oil averages just $60 a barrel. With crude well above that level, Hess is on pace to produce an even larger gusher of cash in the coming years. That would give the company even more money to repurchase shares on top of the $1.5 billion it's planning to buy back by year-end. That combination of cash flow growth and buybacks could richly reward investors in the coming years, especially if they're able to take advantage of this week's sell-off.
A monster repurchase program
Shares of Devon Energy are also down about 10% in the last week even though it, too, can thrive on much lower oil prices. In Devon's case, it's on track to increase its production at a mid-teens CAGR through 2020. At that growth rate, the company's cash flow would expand at a 25% CAGR as long as WTI oil averages $60 a barrel, which would put it on the path to generating $2 billion in free cash flow over that time frame.
However, what makes this week's sell-off in Devon Energy even more intriguing is the fact that the company has a massive share buyback plan under way. It's currently planning to buy back $4 billion in stock by the end of next year, which is enough money to retire 20% of its outstanding shares. Add that needle-moving buyback to Devon's growth potential at lower oil prices and this oil stock could soar in the coming years, making this week's sell-off a potentially excellent entry point.
Plenty of dry powder
Marathon Oil has endured the steepest sell-off of this group, falling more than 15% in the past week. Again, that decline makes little sense given how fast Marathon can grow at lower oil prices.
Marathon is currently on pace to grow its production 14% to 18% this year. What's most impressive about that number is that it's an increase from its initial guidance of 10% to 14% even though the company didn't boost its capital spending. That puts it on pace to generate more free cash, especially since oil is well above its $50 budget level.
The company recently started using some of its free cash flow to buy back its stock, having repurchased $250 million in the past quarter. That still leaves Marathon Oil with $1.25 billion on its current buyback authorization, which could retire a significant number of its now-cheaper shares. That buyback could quickly erase this week's decline, which makes it a compelling oil stock to consider buying right now.
The only thing that has changed is the price
The share prices of several top-tier oil stocks tumbled this week, led by Devon, Hess, and Marathon. While their stock prices declined, though, the outlook for those companies has not dimmed since oil remains well above the levels they need to fuel their growth plans. Because of that, they're producing a gusher of excess cash that they're using to buy back shares, which got cheaper to do this week. With nothing changing other than their share prices, these oil stocks look like even more compelling buys today.