In a report published Monday, D.A. Davidson analyst Brent Thielman and Alyssa Johnson downgraded MDU Resources Group Inc’s MDU stock from Buy to Neutral on near-term prospects and “indirect risks to non-E&P segments,” before the company reports fourth-quarter earnings on Monday, after the market close.
The firm also reduced its 12-18 month target price. It now stands at $24. However, its five-year price target remained untouched at $50.
The mains reasons behind the downgrade:
“Moving toward low end of guidance range.” D.A. Davidson cut down its EPS estimates for the fourth quarter, from $0.40 to $0.35.
Full-year guidance is $1.40-$1.50 per share.
Estimates were also lowered for 2015 and 2016. “With E&P remaining within the portfolio (for now) and considering current market conditions and industry projections, we [the analysts] are lowering our forecasts for 2015 and 2016. Reduced prospects for E&P should be partially offset by less volatile earnings from utility divisions and moderately improving prospects for MDU’s construction businesses.”
“Delay of E&P segment marketing, update on capital allocation plans ahead […] With a substantial decline in commodity prices, there is also an increased likelihood for E&P asset impairments as reserve values are reassessed.”
“Potential indirect implications for non-E&P segments offer risk.” While the analysts at D.A. Davidson remain “optimistic that MDU’s utility and construction divisions can partially offset lower E&P contributions near-term, these businesses have exposure to the upper Midwest where recent years of energy production have spurred significant regional growth. Sustained lower commodity prices and lower regional production activities could potentially impact growth prospects for these businesses beyond 2015.”
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