Head to Head Contrast: Whiting Petroleum (WLL) & Newfield Exploration (NFX)

Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL) and Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX) are both mid-cap energy companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, dividends, profitability, risk, earnings, valuation and institutional ownership.

Volatility and Risk

Whiting Petroleum has a beta of 3.33, meaning that its stock price is 233% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Newfield Exploration has a beta of 1.35, meaning that its stock price is 35% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings for Whiting Petroleum and Newfield Exploration, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Whiting Petroleum 3 13 10 0 2.27
Newfield Exploration 0 9 14 0 2.61

Whiting Petroleum currently has a consensus price target of $34.76, suggesting a potential upside of 54.63%. Newfield Exploration has a consensus price target of $39.45, suggesting a potential upside of 51.87%. Given Whiting Petroleum’s higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Whiting Petroleum is more favorable than Newfield Exploration.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

99.5% of Newfield Exploration shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.2% of Whiting Petroleum shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Newfield Exploration shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Whiting Petroleum and Newfield Exploration’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Whiting Petroleum -45.39% -5.06% -2.71%
Newfield Exploration 20.62% 35.28% 8.89%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Whiting Petroleum and Newfield Exploration’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Whiting Petroleum $1.28 billion 1.59 -$1.34 billion ($7.18) -3.13
Newfield Exploration $1.47 billion 3.52 -$1.23 billion $1.73 15.02

Newfield Exploration has higher revenue and earnings than Whiting Petroleum. Whiting Petroleum is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Newfield Exploration, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Newfield Exploration beats Whiting Petroleum on 11 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Whiting Petroleum Company Profile

Whiting Petroleum Corporation is an independent oil and gas company. The Company is engaged in development, production, acquisition and exploration activities primarily in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States. It is engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil, natural gas liquid (NGLs) and natural gas. Its Northern Rocky Mountains operations included properties in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations and encompassing approximately 736,000 gross developed and undeveloped acres, as of December 31, 2016. Its Central Rocky Mountains operations included properties at its Redtail field in the Denver Julesburg Basin in Weld County, Colorado targeting the Niobrara and Codell/Fort Hays formations and encompassing approximately 157,200 gross developed and undeveloped acres, as of December 31, 2016. Its other operations primarily relate to non-core assets in Colorado, Mississippi, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

Newfield Exploration Company Profile

Newfield Exploration Company is an independent exploration and production company. It is engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Its operating segments are the United States and China. Its the United States operations are onshore and focus primarily on large scale, liquids resource plays. Its principal areas of operation are the Anadarko and Arkoma basins of Oklahoma, the Williston Basin of North Dakota and the Uinta Basin of Utah. It has oil producing assets offshore China. As of December 31, 2016, its proved reserves of 513 million barrels of oil equivalents (MMBOE) consisted of 304 MMBOE proved developed producing, 10 MMBOE proved developed non-producing and 199 MMBOE proved undeveloped reserves. As of December 31, 2016, its proved liquids reserves were 285 million barrels of crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons. As of December 31, 2016, 67% of its proved liquids reserves were crude oil or condensate.

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