Trading at $105.47, up 2.04%, by 11:46 am EST Wednesday, Exxon shares are now above the $100 mark for the first time since 2014.
Exxon now appears to be experiencing a reversal of fortunes after years of dealing with the fallout from its handling of climate issues and investors fears of what an energy transition will mean for the supermajor.
Exxon has gained over 66% since the beginning of the year, buoyed by post-pandemic demand recovery followed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and subsequent Western sanctions that have shaken global energy markets.
Adding to the good news is an announcement Wednesday that Exxon has been chosen by state-owned Qatar Energy to partner in the expansion of what will end up being the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the world. Along with French TotalEnergies, Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, Exxon will partner in Qatar’s $30-billion North Field expansion project, which will see LNG output boosted by 64% by 2027, securing long-term natural gas supply to Europe.
With this deal, and continued bullish sentiment in the oil space, Exxon is working its way back into favored status on Wall Street. The stock is now far from its situation in 2020, when it was evicted from the Dow Jones.
“Every conceivable headwind has become a tailwind,” Evercore ISI analyst Stephen Richardson wrote in a Wednesday note, reported by Bloomberg, pointing to a situation in which “structural supply deficit has opened in crude”.
Speaking to CNN, Bernstein analyst Oswald Clint said that "If you're in a market where oil is rallying, of course there's big appetite to buy one of the biggest, safest and most levered companies to that commodity."
Still, not all oil companies are regaining favor on Wall Street on this level. Some analysts worry that we’ve exhausted all the headwinds here, even if Exxon looks solid from a macroeconomic standpoint.
In a Tuesday research note carried by Barron’s, Evercore ISI analyst Stephen Richardson downgraded Devon Energy (DVN) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY), saying that while he had “no fundamental issues” with either, “just about everything that could go right for these names over the last 12 months did, and our Bull case theses have largely played out”.