Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (NASDAQ: AXAS) and PDC Energy (NASDAQ:PDCE) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, valuation, profitability, risk, dividends and earnings.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Abraxas Petroleum Corporation and PDC Energy, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Abraxas Petroleum Corporation 0 0 5 0 3.00
PDC Energy 0 10 12 0 2.55

Abraxas Petroleum Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $2.64, suggesting a potential upside of 40.43%. PDC Energy has a consensus target price of $70.50, suggesting a potential upside of 43.79%. Given PDC Energy’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe PDC Energy is more favorable than Abraxas Petroleum Corporation.

Profitability

This table compares Abraxas Petroleum Corporation and PDC Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Abraxas Petroleum Corporation 18.14% 7.68% 2.83%
PDC Energy 1.03% 0.53% 0.31%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Abraxas Petroleum Corporation and PDC Energy’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Abraxas Petroleum Corporation $62.48 million 4.89 $42.36 million $0.07 26.86
PDC Energy $677.42 million 4.73 $550.18 million ($0.10) -490.25

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

Institutional and Insider Ownership

44.5% of Abraxas Petroleum Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 8.5% of Abraxas Petroleum Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.9% of PDC Energy shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk & Volatility

Abraxas Petroleum Corporation has a beta of 1.46, suggesting that its stock price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, PDC Energy has a beta of 0.84, suggesting that its stock price is 16% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Abraxas Petroleum Corporation beats PDC Energy on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Abraxas Petroleum Corporation

Abraxas Petroleum Corporation is an independent energy company. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and gas. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s estimated net proved reserves were 44.7 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe), of which 33.6% were classified as proved developed, 74% were oil and natural gas liquids (NGL), and 95% of which (on a PV-10 basis) were operated by the Company. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s daily net production was 6,181 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boepd), of which 61% was oil or liquids. The Company’s oil and gas assets are located in three operating regions: the Rocky Mountain, Permian Basin and onshore Gulf Coast. The Company’s properties in the Rocky Mountain region are located in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana, and in the Green River Powder River and Unita Basins of Wyoming and Utah.

About PDC Energy

PDC Energy, Inc. is an independent exploration and production company. The Company produces, develops, acquires and explores for crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) with operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Utica Shale in southeastern Ohio. The Company operates through two segments: Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, and Gas Marketing. The Company’s Oil and Gas Exploration and Production segment includes all of its crude oil and natural gas properties. The Company’s Gas Marketing segment purchases, aggregates and resells natural gas. The Company’s operations in the Wattenberg Field are focused on the horizontal Niobrara and Codell plays. Its Delaware Basin operations are focused in the Wolfcamp zones and its Ohio operations are focused in the Utica Shale play. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned an interest in approximately 2,900 productive gross wells.

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