These oil companies could be the next takeover targets in Permian Basin after Diamondback deal

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2024 energy outlook: What investors can expect from crude prices, and how to play it

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Top Wall Street analysts are upbeat about these dividend stocks

A Starbucks store is seen inside the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Earnings season has a way of revealing which companies can thrive despite near-term headwinds and enhance shareholder returns in the long run.

With dividend-paying stocks, investors will want companies that have the strong balance sheets and cash flows needed to provide steady payments to shareholders. Analysts can dig through these details and identify stocks that could boost returns through dividends and price appreciation.  

Keeping that in mind, here are five attractive dividend stocks, according to Wall Street’s top experts on TipRanks, a platform that ranks analysts based on their past performance.

EOG Resources

Crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company EOG Resources (EOG) is first on this week’s list. On Nov. 2, EOG reported market-beating third-quarter results. It also announced a 10% increase in its regular quarterly dividend to 91 cents per share and a special dividend of $1.50 per share.

Additionally, EOG increased its cash return commitment from 2024 onwards to a minimum of 70% of annual free cash flow from the previous target of at least 60%. Considering just the regular dividends, EOG’s dividend yield stands at 2.9%.

Following the print, Siebert Williams Shank analyst Gabriele Sorbara reiterated a buy rating on EOG with a price target of $172, citing the company’s “blowout quarter” that exceeded expectations across all metrics. Commenting on the subdued Q4 2023 guidance, the analyst reminded investors that EOG has a long track record of beating its guidance on production, capital expenditure and costs.

The analyst noted the hike in EOG’s cash returns commitment and also pointed out that this year’s total cash returns (dividends plus share buybacks) are tracking at $4.1 billion, representing about 75% of its estimated FCF of $5.5 billion.      

“We maintain our Buy rating on its track record of execution and shareholder returns with its cash rich balance sheet (~$5.33 billion) providing differentiation and optionality,” said Sorbara.

Sorbara holds the 434th position among more than 8,600 analysts on TipRanks. The analyst’s ratings have been successful 46% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 10.9%. (See EOG Resources Financial Statements on TipRanks). 

Coterra Energy

Another energy player, Coterra Energy (CTRA), recently announced better-than-anticipated third-quarter earnings. The company raised its 2023 production guidance, driven by faster cycle times and strong well productivity.

In Q3 2023, Coterra returned $211 million to shareholders, including $151 million via dividends and $60 million through share repurchases. Overall, the company’s year-to-date shareholder return of $839 million represents 91% of its free cash flow.

Management reiterated its commitment to return over 50% of its annual free cash flow to shareholders through its annual regular dividend of 80 cents per share and share repurchases. Based on just the regular dividend, CTRA offers a dividend yield of about 3%.  

Mizuho analyst Nitin Kumar, who ranks No. 124 out of more than 8,600 analysts on TipRanks, thinks that in a quarter where several exploration and production companies have attributed their strong volumes to improving operating efficiencies, CTRA still stands out in his opinion as its beat-and-raise performance was driven by both well timing and productivity.

Further, he highlighted that the company raised its 2023 oil production outlook by 3% compared to peers who increased their guidance by about zero to 1%, on average.

Kumar reiterated a buy rating on CTRA stock with a price target of $42 and designated it a top pick, noting, “CTRA returned ~84% of 3Q23 FCF via its dividend and buybacks, and is on track to return ~80% of 2023 FCF (vs. target of 50%+).”

Kumar’s ratings have been profitable 63% of the time, with each delivering an average return of 17%. (See CTRA Technical Analysis on TipRanks)

Crescent Energy

Kumar is also bullish on another dividend stock: Crescent Energy (CRGY), an independent energy company that develops and operates oil and natural gas properties. On Nov. 6, the company announced its third-quarter results and declared a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share, payable on Dec. 4. CRGY offers a dividend yield of 4.6%.  

Commenting on the third-quarter results, Kumar said that CRGY reported an oil-driven production and EBITDAX (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and exploration expense) beat, with lower capital expenditure.

Kumar noted that following Crescent’s two Western Eagle Ford acquisitions, the company is already displaying impressive capital efficiency improvements, realizing about 20% drilling and completions well cost savings compared to the prior operator. This suggests an incrementally better 2024 outlook compared to the company’s preliminary soft forecast, the analyst said.  

“Moreover, the company is further demonstrating it can deliver on its acquisition-driven model in the public market arena, which should give investors additional confidence in the strategy,” said Kumar.

In line with his bullish stance, Kumar reiterated a buy rating on CRGY with a price target of $19. (See CRGY Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)

Diamondback Energy

Diamondback Energy (FANG) is an oil and natural gas company focused on assets in the Permian Basin in West Texas. On Nov. 6, it delivered better-than-projected third-quarter results. Also, the company announced a base dividend of 84 cents per share and a variable cash dividend of $2.53 per share, both payable on Nov. 24.

Diamondback said that the base and variable dividends combined indicate an annualized yield of more than 8%. It is worth noting that FANG also enhanced shareholder returns through share repurchases worth $56 million in Q3 2023.  

In reaction to the results and dividend announcement, RBC Capital analyst Scott Hanold said that Diamondback’s execution remains strong. He added that the company’s shareholder return strategy is differentiated, noting, “FANG quickly pivoted to higher levels of dividends, but was still able to execute buybacks and among the lowest relative points during the last quarter.”

The analyst noted that the company repurchased shares worth $1.9 billion at an average 6% discount to market prices since the start of 2022. He pointed out FANG’s discipline to purchase shares only during periods of significant price disconnects from the stock’s intrinsic value.

Hanold maintained a buy rating on FANG stock and raised the price target to $175 from $170 to reflect stronger free cash flow and stock buybacks executed at accretive value point. He ranks No. 16 among more than 8,600 analysts on TipRanks. His ratings have been successful 64% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 24.4%. (See Diamondback Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)


Finally, there is coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX), which impressed investors with its fiscal fourth-quarter beats earlier this month. The demand for the company’s pricier beverages and higher traffic in the domestic market boosted its quarterly performance.  

The company also announced its long-term strategy called “Triple Shot Reinvention with Two Pumps,” which will focus on elevating the brand, bolstering and scaling digital presence, and expanding globally, while unlocking efficiency and reinvigorating partner culture.

Coming to shareholder returns, in September, Starbucks announced a 7.5% rise in its quarterly dividend to 57 cents per share, payable on Nov. 24. Starbucks initiated its dividend payments in 2010 and has increased its dividend for 13 straight years at a compound annual growth rate of about 20%. SBUX offers a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Following the fiscal Q4 results and updates on the long-term strategy, BTIG analyst Peter Saleh reiterated a buy rating on SBUX with a price target of $125. The analyst highlighted the company’s better-than-anticipated global same-store sales growth of 8% in fiscal Q4 and noted that traffic gains and solid operating margin fueled the earnings beat.

“We believe Starbucks has a compelling return profile as its unfolding sales and economic recovery is matched by continued global unit development and stronger shareholder return targets,” said Saleh.  

Saleh ranks No. 504 among more than 8,600 analysts tracked by TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 58% of the time, with each delivering an average return of 9.10%. (See Starbucks’ Stock Charts on TipRanks)

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What tie-ups in the U.S. oil patch could mean for players like Coterra Energy

Permian Basin rigs in 2020, when U.S. crude oil production dropped by 3 million a day as Wall Street pressure forced cuts.

Paul Ratje | Afp | Getty Images

Exxon Mobil‘s (XOM) planned deal to buy Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) has sparked talk of more consolidation in the oil-and-gas industry. While we don’t own companies as mergers-and-acquisition plays, the potential for more tie-ups could have significant implications for our remaining oil name: Coterra Energy (CTRA).

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Oil and natural gas prices are on different paths. Here’s what has been driving the moves

Oil prices eased in Asian as concerns over slow demand from top crude importer China grew after bearish trade and inflation data, outweighing fears over tighter supply arising from output cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia.

David Mcnew | Getty Images News | Getty Images

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Top Wall Street analysts bet on these stocks to brace for a sharp downturn

VMware at the NYSE, Dec. 14, 2021.

Source: NYSE

Investors’ attention has returned to the Federal Reserve after a hot November jobs report last week.

That’s because even though the central bank has pushed interest rates higher, the economy continues to add jobs and wages keep rising. Friday’s report on last month’s payrolls surprised investors and chilled sentiment.

Nevertheless, investors need to keep a longer-term outlook as they decide how to best position their portfolios. To that end, here are five stocks chosen by Wall Street’s top pros, according to TipRanks, a service that ranks analysts based on their track record.


While software company VMware (VMW) reeled from lackluster quarterly results, Monness Crespi Hardt analyst Brian White maintained his positive conviction on the stock.

Importantly, the company will soon be acquired by Broadcom (AVGO). According to the agreement between the companies, VMware shareholders can either cash in their shares at $142.50 per share or choose to exchange their holdings for 0.2520 shares of Broadcom for each share of VMware. However, in all probability, shareholders may end up with a 50-50 split between cash and stock.

This is important, as this deal has enabled VMware to “dodge the 2022 tech apocalypse,” in White’s words, with the stock up 4% in 2022.

Given the pending acquisition, VMware did not issue any guidance. However, White remains bullish on the basis of the shareholder benefit as well as the stable position of VMware in the tech sector.

“VMware’s earnings remain depressed after aggressive investment initiatives and a model transition. At the same time, the current economic and geopolitical environment is daunting, resulting in a more uncertain future, creating a greater allure for large, well-managed, stable, tech companies with benefit from digital transformation, such as VMware,” White theorized.

White is ranked No. 697 among more than 8,000 analysts tracked on TipRanks. The analyst has a record of 55% successful ratings in the past year, with each rating generating average returns of about 8.7%.

Diamondback Energy

Oil and natural gas exploration company Diamondback Energy (FANG) has gained the attention of RBC Capital Markets analyst Scott Hanold after making two significant strategic acquisitions recently. The analyst expects the acquisitions to be accretive to his earnings per share estimates for 2023 and 2024 by 7% to 9%.

Importantly, at a time when almost every company has worrisome near-term prospects, Hanold sees a solid upside to Diamondback’s near-term free cash flows, thanks to its latest acquisition of Permian Basin assets from Lario. (See Diamondback Dividend Date & History on TipRanks)

The analyst is also upbeat about Diamondback’s asset monetization plan, and believes that it will help the company maintain a clean balance sheet even after the two recent acquisitions. “We think FANG will still maintain an adjusted leverage ratio below 1.0x following the close of the two transactions. However, we think the company will progress more to exceed its $500 million asset monetization target with a focus on midstream assets that trade at more robust values in the market,” said Hanold, who reiterated a buy rating and $182 price target on the stock.

Impressively, Hanold holds the 8th position among more than 8,000 analysts on TipRanks, and boasts a 70% success rate. Each of his ratings has generated average returns of 33.7%.

Microchip Technology

The next stock on our list is Microchip (MCHP), a leading manufacturer of embedded control solutions. The company’s exposure to secular growth trends in the end-markets of 5G, artificial intelligence/machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and electric vehicles bode well for the company in the long run.

Recently, Stifel analyst Tore Svanberg recently reiterated a buy rating on MCHP stock and even increased the price target to $80 from $77. (See Microchip Stock Chart on TipRanks)

The analyst believes that Microchip is well positioned to “manage a softer landing relative to peers during broader industry correction,” on the basis of solid near-term backlog visibility, defensive end-market exposure, resilient pricing of proprietary products, etc.

Svanberg stands at No. 41 among more than 8,000 analysts followed and ranked on TipRanks. The analyst also has a solid track record of 65% profitable ratings and average returns of 20.4% for each.

Analog Devices

Analog Devices (ADI) is another stock on Tore Svanberg’s buy list. The manufacturer of high-performance analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits holds the biggest shares of the data converter and amplifier markets.

“We believe ADI is a formidable high-performance analog/mixed-signal powerhouse with pro forma CY21A revenue of (nearly) $10 billion, and the leading challenger to the current industry heavyweight, TXN (Texas Instruments),” said Svanberg.

Analog Devices also has strong cash flow generating capabilities, which kept Svanberg bullish: The company has generated $3.50 billion in the past 12 months. (See Analog Devices Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)

The analyst sees Analog Devices outperforming its peers in the present challenging macroeconomic environment. Based on his observations, Svanberg increased his price target to $195 from $190.


A leading name in the cybersecurity space, CrowdStrike (CRWD) disappointed investors and analysts alike recently with weaker-than-expected guidance. This underscored the vulnerability of the software sector to macroeconomic forces.

Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank analyst Brad Zelnick remained focused on the longer-term prospects of CrowdStrike, calling it one of the three best-positioned security companies to overcome the strong headwinds. (See CrowdStrike Holdings Financial Statements on TipRanks)

Zelnick observed solid traction in large deals and a strong existing customer base, which can support the company through challenging times.

The analyst also observed that despite not being able to deliver on the top-line part of the business, CrowdStrike was consistent in maintaining solid margins, reflecting “the flex/leverage in the business model.”

Although Zelnick lowered the price target to $150 from $230 to account for his lower estimates, the analyst maintained a buy rating after looking beyond the storm.

Interestingly, among more than 8,000 analysts on TipRanks, Zelnick is ranked 128th, having delivered successful ratings 67% of the time in the past year. Moreover, each of his ratings has garnered average returns of 15.10%.

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