Is There Upside In Cimarex Energy Stock?

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We believe that there is a sizable upside in Cimarex Energy stock (NYSE: XEC) at the current price of $26 as it is down by 50% since the beginning of this year. It traded at a pre-Covid high of $40 in February before dropping to the lows of $13 in March. Supported by the recovery in benchmark oil prices, the third quarter revenues declined by just 31% (y-o-y) as compared to a staggering 54% decline in the second quarter. In view of rising production volumes and declining commercial crude oil inventories, we believe that the stock has sizable growth potential in the near future. Our conclusion is based on our detailed analysis of Cimarex Energy stock performance during the current crisis with that during the 2008 recession in an interactive dashboard analysis.

Timeline of 2020 Crisis So Far:

  • 12/12/2019: Coronavirus cases first reported in China
  • 1/31/2020: WHO declares a global health emergency.
  • 2/19/2020: Signs of effective containment in China and hopes of monetary easing by major central banks helps S&P 500 reach a record high
  • 3/23/2020: S&P 500 drops 34% from the peak level seen on Feb 19, as Covid-19 cases accelerate outside China. Doesn’t help that oil prices crash in mid-March amid Saudi-led price war
  • From 3/24/2020: S&P 500 recovers 51% from the lows seen on Mar 23, as the Fed’s multi-billion dollar stimulus package suppresses near-term survival anxiety and infuses liquidity into the system.


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In contrast, here’s how XEC and the broader market performed during the 2007/2008 crisis.

Timeline of 2007-08 Crisis

  • 10/1/2007: Approximate pre-crisis peak in S&P 500 index
  • 9/1/2008 – 10/1/2008: Accelerated market decline corresponding to Lehman bankruptcy filing (9/15/08)
  • 3/1/2009: Approximate bottoming out of S&P 500 index
  • 1/1/2010: Initial recovery to levels before accelerated decline (around 9/1/2008)

Cimarex Energy vs S&P 500 Performance Over 2007-08 Financial Crisis

XEC stock declined from levels of around $37 in September 2007 to levels of around $20 in March 2009 (as the markets bottomed out), implying XEC stock lost 47% from its approximate pre-crisis peak. It recovered post the 2008 crisis to levels of about $53 in early 2010 – rising by 170% between March 2009 and January 2010. In comparison, the S&P 500 Index first fell 51% in the wake of the recession before recovering 48% by January 2010.

Cimarex Energy’s Fundamentals in Recent Years Look Strong

Cimarex’s Revenues grew by 26% from $1.9 billion in 2017 to $2.4 billion in 2019, driven by rising benchmark prices and production volumes. However, the company’s margins deteriorated due to growing depreciation and depletion costs – resulting in a sharp decline in earnings per share in 2019. Recovery in benchmark prices and growing production volumes led to a sequential improvement in third quarter revenues and earnings. Considering the declining trend in commercial crude oil inventories, we expect Cimarex Energy’s fundamentals to improve in the coming quarters.

Does Cimarex Energy Have A Sufficient Cash Cushion To Meet Its Obligations Through The Coronavirus Crisis?

Cimarex Energy’s total debt increased from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $2 billion at the end of Q3 2020, while its total cash decreased from $400 million to $273 million over the same period. The company generated $713 million in cash from its operations in the first nine months of 2020, and it appears to be in a good position to weather the crisis as the most recent long-term debt matures in 2024.


Phases of Covid-19 crisis:

  • Early- to mid-March 2020: Fear of the coronavirus outbreak spreading rapidly translates into reality, with the number of cases accelerating globally
  • Late-March 2020 onward: Social distancing measures + lockdowns
  • April 2020: Fed stimulus suppresses near-term survival anxiety
  • May-June 2020: Recovery of demand, with gradual lifting of lockdowns – no panic anymore despite a steady increase in the number of cases
  • July-October 2020: Poor Q2 results and better Q3 results, but continued improvement in demand and a decline in the number of new cases and progress with vaccine development buoy market sentiment

Going by the historical performance and in view of declining crude oil inventories, we believe that the stock can completely recover to pre-Covid levels supported by a strong cash position and improving topline.

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