Trading Nation

Chevron and Exxon are about to report earnings, but traders are only backing one

Trading Nation: Is there relief ahead for the energy sector?

Get ready for the Dow's Big Oil plays to release earnings.

Chevron and Exxon Mobil are gearing up to report about their recent quarters before the bell Friday, joining the more than two-thirds of Dow components that have already posted results.

But, the two are not equal, according to Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray.

"If I look at the differentiation between Exxon Mobil and Chevron, Exxon has been in a series of lower lows and lower highs for quite some time. Chevron, though, looks like it's in a high-level trading range after the stock moved from $70 to $130 and it's just consolidating," Johnson said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"I'm going to take into the print Chevron versus Exxon at this point in time," Johnson added.

Chevron and Exxon have come under pressure this week as the rest of the energy space sold off. Chevron and Exxon Mobil are down more than 2%, while the XLE energy ETF has fallen 3%.

"That's an understatement that the energy sector has been a tough place to invest in but, integrated, the big companies have been a safe haven within that sector," Michael Binger, president of Gradient Investments, said during the same segment.

However, one name also supersedes the other, he said.

"When I look at these two companies going into tomorrow's earnings, I too prefer Chevron for three reasons. Production growth matters — Chevron has mid-single-digit growth where Exxon has flat growth. Chevron has good cash flow — it covers that dividend and allows for buybacks. And, finally, Chevron trades at a discount on a valuation basis to Exxon," Binger said.

Chevron and Exxon both yield more than the rest of the energy space with respective 4% and 5% dividends. The XLE ETF yields 3.8%.