Mad Money

Cramer says the market's other FANG is a great growth play on oil

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer taps Diamondback Energy as one of the best ways to play crude oil's price recovery.
  • With a clean, simple story, Diamondback, which trades under the ticker FANG, has deservedly been embraced by Wall Street investors, Cramer says.
Cramer says this stock is a great growth play on oil

With a weak dollar pushing oil prices higher than they've been in months, CNBC's Jim Cramer checked in on one oil stock that has become the trade of the town on Wall Street.

"As the price of crude has come roaring back to the mid-$60s ... thanks to surging worldwide demand and instability in major petroleum-producing countries like Nigeria and the failed state of Venezuela, Diamondback [Energy] has become one of the hottest stocks around," the "Mad Money" host said.

Trading under the ticker symbol FANG, Diamondback's stock has climbed 57 percent since its lows in the fall of 2017, nearly doubling over the last two years.

But its recent positive action made Cramer wonder if Diamondback was truly deserving of Wall Street's accolades, or if the oil play would soon run out of juice.

An oil and gas company focused on energy exploration and production, Diamondback mainly does business in Texas' Permian Basin, an area flooded with cheap oil.

The strategic location has paid off for Diamondback over the years; it is cheaper to drill in the Permian than in other oil-rich areas of the United States, so the company has been able to profit during oil's downtrends.

That's why, when oil peaked in 2014 (less than two years after Diamondback came public), the company was partially insulated from the drastic declines that followed.

From the 2014 peak to the 2016 lows, the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF lost 74 percent of its value. In comparison, shares of Diamondback, a pure play on the lucrative Permian, only sank 40 percent.

Now at 130 a share, Diamondback is trading far above where it was when crude oil prices were at $100, even though they were only at $66.11 as of Friday's close, Cramer noted.

"You might think that's patently insane, but the truth is that Diamondback hasn't been sitting still for these past few years," the "Mad Money" host said.

"If you only learn one thing about Diamondback Energy tonight, learn this: with oil prices once again on the rise, this company's earnings are poised to explode higher," he added.

Over the years, Diamondback has taken advantage of oil's boom-and-bust cycle. During the latest bust, the company raised cash via secondary stock offerings, then spent $3.5 billion to buy more acreage in the Permian and acquire Brigham Energy.

"Thanks in part to these deals, Diamondback's production is now 18 times greater than when the company came public a little over five years ago," Cramer said.

Now that oil prices are climbing, virtually all of Diamondback's acreage is profitable. As such, the company is ramping up its rig count and boosting production, driving bottom-line growth.

And the company is beloved on Wall Street because it is easy to understand, Cramer said. "One of the simplest oil and gas exploration plays on earth," it only operates in six key areas of one region — the Permian — in stark contrast to its cross-continental, multinational competitors, he said.

Better yet, the company has the lowest cash costs and, therefore, the highest cash margins than any other Permian-based operator. Best of all, its stock is still cheap, trading at only 19 times 2018 earnings estimates despite its 63 percent long-term growth rate, Cramer said.

Compared to Apache and EOG Resources' 40 times price-to-earnings multiples, Diamondback's stock remains a bargain vis-a-vis its rivals, the "Mad Money" host said.

"The bottom line? Sometimes the stock market actually makes some sense. Diamondback Energy has caught fire because it makes a killing from higher oil prices, and as long as crude stays in the $60s, this company will be in great shape," Cramer concluded. "It's not for everybody. This is a wild one. But if you want to bet on a strong oil market, there's only one company worth doing it with and that's Diamondback."

WATCH: Cramer's bull case for the market's other FANG

Cramer says the market's other FANG is a great growth play on oil

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Apache.

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