Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Conoco (NYSE:COP), Exxon (NYSE:XOM) Price Targets Raised by The Benchmark Company

Price targets at ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) were increased by The Benchmark Company, citing upward revisions on their normalized earnings.

The price target on Conoco was raised from $43 a share to $48 a share, while Exxon was bumped up from $48 a share to $52 a share.

Benchmark said the normalized earnings of Conoco were partially offset by the dilution related to the divestiture of its Lukoil stake and associated share-buyback program.

Concerning their "Sell" rating on Conoco, the company said, "We reaffirm our Sell rating based upon our continuing belief that the modestly discounted normalized multiple valuation currently in place is insufficient given the significant weakness in the company's portfolio, management-related concerns, and the comparatively high earnings and cash flow sensitivity to the anticipated weakness in the refining sector."

They also reiterated a "Sell" rating on Exxon Mobil, saying, "We reaffirm our Sell rating reflecting our unchanged belief that the sizable premium normalized earnings multiple currently in place is excessive given a sector average, at best, upstream growth rate and financial management/strategy oriented concerns."

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