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5 Stocks To Watch Ahead Of Upcoming Oil & Gas Investor Conference

May 20, 2014 1:51 pm
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On June 5, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) will be holding an investor conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.

The IPAA puts on a number of other similar events, known as Oil and Gas Investment Symposia (OGIS), throughout the year in cities such as San Francisco and New York. The upcoming Toronto meeting will likely be a catalyst for the stocks of a number of small-cap oil and gas companies that are scheduled to present at the conference.

The IPAA describes its OGIS event as an opportunity for companies to present their corporate profiles and 2014 production outlooks to "institutional investors, research analysts, private equity firms, high net worth investors, capital providers, retail brokers, media representatives, and oil and gas industry professionals."

No company is going to go to Toronto in order to deliver bad news to investors. Rather, the event will likely be approached by corporate management as an opportunity to put the best possible spin on current operations and to provide optimistic future performance outlooks. This is a situation that should pique the interest of traders looking for stocks with catalysts.

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A total of 14 oil and gas companies, with market caps ranging from $35 million to $9 billion, will be presenting at OGIS Toronto. Below, Benzinga takes a look at five of these companies, which were selected based on market capitalization. While it is unlikely that the stock of a large company such as Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL) will make a big move based on its investor presentation, the same is not true of smaller companies that have a much lower profile on Wall Street.

In fact, for some of the companies in attendance, the OGIS presentation may be their best opportunity of the year to get their story out to investors that may know very little about them and their operations. For this reason, it is much more likely that a small-cap name will make a big move in the wake of its June 5 presentation. Here are the five names that we think traders and investors should consider buying ahead of OGIS Toronto.

Enservco (NYSE: ENSV)

This tiny Denver, Colorado-based oil services company will be the first presenter at OGIS Toronto. On Monday, Enservco shares surged better than 10 percent, possibly based on bullish investor expectations surrounding the company's upcoming presentation. Enservco has a market cap of just $84 million, so this is a name that could definitely make a huge move based on a single investor presentation. The company's operations consist of two subsidiaries that provide oil field services to the domestic onshore oil and natural gas industry. Year-to-date, the stock has jumped roughly 28 percent, vastly outperforming the wider market.

Abraxas Petroleum (NASDAQ: AXAS)

This San Antonio-based company is an independent oil and gas explorer with a market cap of $445 million. It has holdings in both the Eagle Ford and Bakken shale regions of the United States among others.

The stock has been a very solid performer in recent years with the shares rising around 95 percent over the last 52-weeks, including a 46 percent gain in 2014. Shares have been rallying since mid-March accompanied by a significant pickup in trading volume. The catalyst for the move in the name was favorable fourth-quarter earnings results and better-than-expected revenue growth. In addition, the company's sale of its WyCross holdings in the Eagle Ford shale enabled it to slash debt. Abraxas has provided a 2014 production outlook of between 5,200 and 5,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Escalera Resources (NASDAQ: ESCR)

Denver-based Escalera is the smallest company that will be presenting at OGIS Toronto with a current market cap of just $34 million. The company is scheduled as the last presenter of the day and is not due to take the stage until 4:50 EST, after the markets close. Escalera is an independent oil and gas producer with properties in southwestern Wyoming.

Shares have been in a downtrend since the summer of 2011 when they shot up to around $11.00, which compares to the current price of $2.41. In 2014, the stock has added around five percent. Although fundamentals are not very attractive, with deeply negative operating and profit margins, this stock could potentially receive a big boost from its OGIS Toronto presentation as it likely isn't on anyone's radar right now.

Penn Virginia (NYSE: PVA)

Penn Virginia is also a domestic oil and gas exploration company with operations in Texas, the Mid-Continent region and Mississippi. Based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Penn Virginia's market cap is roughly $940 million. Although the company is not currently profitable, it has a history of revenue growth over the last five years that accelerated in 2013 when sales jumped 36 percent.

Investors appear enthusiastic about the company's future as the shares have soared nearly 200 percent in the last year and are sitting at levels last seen in late 2010. Another interesting note about this stock is that its short float is currently above 20 percent. It is possible that some short-sellers may want to cover their positions prior to the company's presentation at OGIS Toronto, which would provide an additional catalyst for the shares.

Callon Petroleum (NYSE: CPE)

Callon is an onshore independent oil and gas producer with multi-play assets located in Texas' Permian Basin region. The stock has been on fire so far in 2014, rising around 54 percent.

Shares are currently sitting at all-time high levels and OGIS Toronto should be a great opportunity for the company to garner more exposure. Despite the stock's strong recent performance, revenue and profits have been choppy in recent years. In 2013, Callon recorded its third straight year of revenue declines and eked out only a small profit. Nevertheless, the stock has been heading in the right direction and OGIS Toronto should provide a positive catalyst for Callon.

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