Oil services stocks: Hold 'em or fold 'em?

The sector has taken a hit on EIA data, and only 1 of 25 stocks has a 'buy' rating.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 4, 2013 4:01PM

Image: Oil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)By Richard Suttmeier


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As Kenny Rogers sang in his hit, "The Gambler,"

"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em / Know when to walk away/ know when to run." This is not only great advice for wildcatters,  but should also be heeded by traders and investors of oil services stocks.


The following table shows the 25 stocks that are the components of the Market Vectors Oil Services (OIH) ETF ($41.35). The daily chart shows a wide trading range between the June 26, 2012 low at $32.54 -- and the highs set on Feb. 24, 2012 at $45.14, and on Feb. 14, 2013 at $45.12. I show weekly and monthly pivots at $42.18 and $42.85, which failed to hold this week.


oih chart 

The oil services stocks slipped on Wednesday, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that crude oil inventories rose to the highest level since 1990. Crude inventories rose 2.71 million barrels in the week ending March 29  -- to more than 388 million barrels.


The price of a barrel of Nymex Crude Oil fell by $2.40 to $94.46, closing just below the 50-day SMA at $94.64. My weekly value level is $31.20, with monthly and annual risky levels at $98.93 and $115.23.


Today the oils-energy sector is 5.4% overvalued, according to ValuEngine.com, with the oil & gas field services industry 3.6% overvalued, the oil & gas drilling industry 1.7% overvalued and the oil field machine & equipment industry 3.9% overvalued.


oil service tablelist


OV/UN Valued: 12 oil services stocks are undervalued, with Transocean (RIG) the most undervalued by 13.9%. The most overvalued stock is Oil States International (OIS) by 24.7%.


VE RatingTenaris (TS) is the only stock in the table with a "4-Engine" buy rating after being upgraded from hold Thursday morning. McDermott International (MDR) was upgraded to hold from sell. Tidewater (TDW) is only "2-Engine" sell rated stock in the table. All other stocks in the table have "3-Engine" or hold ratings. Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) has been downgraded to hold from buy this morning.


Last 12-Month Return (%): 12 oil services stocks declined over the last 12 months, with Weatherford (WFT) the biggest loser down 20.2%. The biggest winner of the 12 risers is Patterson-UTI Energy with a gain of 29.6%.


Forecast 1-Year Return: The biggest potential loser is Tidewater with a projected loss of 7.6% over the next 12 months. The projected winners are expected to be up only slightly between 0.5% and 4.7%.


12 Month Trailing P/E Ratios: P/E ratios range from 10.1 for Oil States to 28.7 for Core Labs (CLB).


200-Day Simple Moving Averages: We began the week with only two oil services stocks below their 200-day SMAs. The reversion to the mean spread to four additional names this week. Those below are: Diamond Offshore (DO), McDermott (MDR), Noble (NE), National Oilwell (NOV), Rowan Companies (RDC) and Seadrill (SDRL). This means that the other 19 stocks are still at risk of reversion to the mean.


Here's how to use the Value Levels and Risky Levels for stocks in today's table:


Value Level: is the price at which to enter a GTC Limit Order to buy on weakness. The letters mean; W-Weekly, M-Monthly, Q-Quarterly, S-Semiannual and A- Annual.


Pivot: A level between a value level and risky level that should be a magnet during the time frame noted.


Risky Level: is the price at which to enter a GTC Limit Order to sell on strength.


The author has no positions in the stocks mentioned.


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