Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock is up 14% year-to-date, and that’s a disappointment. First because it is lagging the S&P 500, which is up 20%. Second, because it’s even worse when you consider that the United States Oil Fund, LP (NYSEARCA:USO) is up a whopping 30%-plus for the same period.
Clearly the XOM stock price needs to catch up. Today we discuss the opportunity that could help it do just that.
First let’s do our due diligence and eliminate the possibility that there is something wrong with the company. Spoiler alert: The company is fine, it’s the stock that is slightly sick.
Fundamentally, Exxon Mobile stock sells at an 18 trailing price-to-earnings ratio and 1.2 times sales. Those levels are in line with Chevron (NYSE:CVX). So it’s definitely not bloated. Owning it here is reasonable just from that perspective alone. This is before noting the fact that it also pays 4.5% yield to reward its shareholders while they wait.
Crude oil price have been on fire of late. Higher oil prices usually translate into favorable price action for the major oil companies. Today’s point is that there is a technical opportunity in the Exxon stock that could have a 5% rally brewing.
XOM Stock Beyond the Numbers
Now that we established that the Exxon fundamentals are solid, we can move on to the real opportunity today which is the technical one.
The Exxon chart looks like a breakout waiting to happen. The simplest way of seeing this is through a series of higher lows knocking on a neckline. What makes this interesting is the location of that line.
XOM stock had a similar setup in April, but from the much higher $84 per share level. That opportunity failed miserably in late April and the stock tumbled 15%. But some of that was also the fact that oil prices in general also collapsed. Light sweet crude fell to $50 per barrel and negative sentiment there capitulated. That was the opportunity to go long oil stocks.
The good news there is that the bulls held the higher-lows trend. XOM stock found support exactly where it needed it. The cluster of prices around $72 per share was the consolidation area from January and it held.
And as such, XOM bottomed late May. The June rally so far brings it back to half-back test of the April stock accident. This week, Exxon Mobil stock made its third attempt at this breakout from $78 per share. The reason this is important is because it’s not only the halfway mark of a major correction, but it also coincides with a pivot level that dates back to 2015.
Click to Enlarge Such significant levels are usually pivotal, so they offer resistance. But when that fails, then the bulls can overwhelm the sellers and overshoot higher. In this case, the first target is $82 per share, which would close the gap that happened on the last earnings report for Exxon. Above $82 per share, there are more technical opportunities but they are resistance first until they, too, fail.
XOM stock can do this, but it will need the help of not just the markets in general, but also the price for crude oil. And those prices rebounded hard off of the recent drop and when that happens they tend to hit some resistance. Looking at the price of crude oil of late there are important levels to note and the shape of the chart is very similar to XOM. So this stock is not alone in this fight as the opportunity is here for the whole energy sector.
So in summary, although this opportunity is short-term in nature because it’s based on the charts, it also works for the long-term. Chevron and Exxon are excellent energy companies and for the long-term have rewarded their shareholders well. First in terms of capital appreciation and second from their dividends. These are bulletproof companies where the dividend is not in question. This makes the institutional interest in these stocks a form of support for them. So I can own Exxon for the long-term even from here.