Ignore Oil Prices, Buy Exxon Regardless: Pros

An oil drilling rig in the Junin 10 field in the Orinoco Oil Belt, in Anzoategui, Venezuela on January 24, 2012.
Lissy De Abreu | AFP | Getty Images
An oil drilling rig in the Junin 10 field in the Orinoco Oil Belt, in Anzoategui, Venezuela on January 24, 2012.

The direction of global oil prices notwithstanding, Exxon Mobil’s stock remains attractive because of its attractive dividends and growing future in the natural gas sector, two energy analysts told CNBC Monday.

Currently the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, ExxonMobil benefits from investors’ bullish disposition on the stock — which run counter to arecently disappointing earnings performance.

The shares are trading within view of a 52-week high, and no Wall Street analysts currently rate the stock as a “sell.” On Monday, ExxonMobil traded below $88.

Despite concerns about the global economy and the mixed outlook for oil prices, Pavel Molchanov at Raymond James told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that Exxon’s fundamentals “are very appealing.” He rates the stock at “outperform,” with a price target of $92. Although Raymond James is forecasting a slide in world oil prices, ExxonMobil remains positioned for growth, the analyst said.

“This is not a stock for a very bullish view on oil prices. If you are a bull on crude, there are more aggressive generally smaller-cap names in the oil and gas arena for people to focus on,” Molchanov said. “Exxon is so appealing because it’s defensive and it tends to outperform when all is going down, not going up.”

The boom in natural gas and Exxon’s generous dividend — which analyst Jason Gammel at Macquarie Securities points out returns more than the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index — also makes the company a “buy.”

“Moving forward we do think [natural gas] is an important source of production and reserve growth for the company,” said Gammel, who also rates the stock an “outperform,” with a price target of $97. “I do think that the position they’ve carved out in natural gas is going to be very important for the long-term story here.”

—By Javier E. David, Special to CNBC.com

Additional Views: Dennis Gartman: Tapping SPR Could Drive Oil to New Highs

Additional Views: Despite Earnings Miss, Exxon Still a ‘Buy’: Analyst


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Neither Pavel Molchanov nor Jason Gammel own shares of XOM.