Top picks 2013: Enerplus
This Canadian energy company offers an 8.7% yield and capital gains potential.
Established in 1986, Enerplus (ERF), a former income trust based in Calgary, is a diversified oil and gas producer.
There are two good reasons to like Enerplus as a speculative investment. The first is yield; at the current payment rate of C$0.09 per month, the shares yield 8.7%. The second is the company's exposure to some of the most exciting oil plays on the continent.
Enerplus owns Bakken crude oil assets in Fort Berthold, North Dakota and increased production from this region during the third quarter by 10%. It also has holdings in the Sleeping Giant area of the Elm Coulee field in Montana which it plans to increase in 2013.
The weakness in the company's portfolio is its large natural gas position. Continued low prices have resulted in a decline in gas production and a reduction in capital expenditures.
In fact, Enerplus plans to abandon some of its gas leases in the eastern U.S. next year, although it will retain its position in the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania, which the company believes is one of the best areas within the play.
The stock has been very volatile and is currently trading at less than half its 2012 high of $26.94, reached in early January. The company cut its dividend by 50% in mid-year, which accelerated the sell-off in the shares.
The shares fell as low as $11.53 in November but have since rebounded. Enerplus appears to be oversold at the current level and RBC Capital Markets has an $18 target on the shares.
There is high risk here; but if an 8.7% yield and capital gains potential fits with the risky side of your barbell, I think it's worth the gamble.
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The company has made at least 4 acquisitions in the space, and few people have paid any attention.
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