DINO is picking up bullish momentum – it’s a good bargain, too

Uncertain market conditions can make it hard for even the most patient, disciplined bargain hunter to find useful investing opportunities.

The trick to effective investing in a difficult market is being able to identify pockets of the economy where current conditions create opportunity or where companies may have been able to buck broader industry and market trends to create their own success. Over the past year, one of the areas of the economy that has continued to offer useful value-driven investing opportunities is the Energy sector. Surging energy prices can be a bit of a double-edged sword; energy producers are able to charge more for their goods and services, but in the same breadth those price increases have a downstream, ripple effect that often extends throughout the market, regardless of sector or industry type. The price of crude oil – the primary price driver for all energy-related commodities – peaked to start last summer, with both Western and Middle East crude topping at around $125 per barrel. Since then, prices have dropped back significantly, but still remain well above pre-2022 levels, with WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude currently sitting at around $72 per barrel.

For companies that operate in the refining space, rising crude prices blunt some of their ability to deliver refined, finished petroleum products, while declines such as what we’ve seen over the last year provide a useful headwind that generally drives profits higher. HF Sinclair Corp (DINO) is an interesting case study. Formerly recognized as HollyFrontier Corp, this is an independent refiner, with refineries located from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and extending into Canada. DINO markets their finished goods in those areas along with the Southwest. This is a company that finds opportunities to manage its refining costs, in part, at least by navigating the differences in commodity prices between regions. For example, the company is a major buyer of West Canadian Select (WCS) crude, which traditionally is priced at a discount to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude. When the gap between these two, distinct crude deliveries narrows, costs increase for DINO, while a healthy, normal or widening gap improves their profitability prospects.

Coming into last year, some of the larger political and economic challenges associated with crude production in North American forced the gap I just mentioned to narrow, putting quite a bit of pressure on DINO’s bottom line. More recent reports seem to indicate that those fortunes have reversed. That has reflected positively for DINO, with the company showing significant improvements in Free Cash Flow, and Cash over the past year. While the broad market’s volatility has kept a lot of stocks at relatively depressed prices, DINO peaked in November of last year at a yearly high around $66 per share before dropping back and setting into a downward trend that bottomed in May at around $37. The stock has picked up bullish momentum since then, now sitting a little below $46. DINO’s fundamental strengths also dovetail nicely with the stock’s price action to offer an attractive value proposition, which makes this a stock that a smart bargain hunter should seriously think about putting on a watchlist. Let’s run the numbers. 

Fundamental and Value Profile

HF Sinclair Corporation (HF Sinclair) is an independent petroleum refiner. HF Sinclair produces and markets high value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, renewable diesel, and other specialty products. HF Sinclair owns and operates refineries located in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Washington and Utah and markets its refined products principally in the Southwest United States, the Rocky Mountains extending into the Pacific Northwest and in other neighboring Plains states. HF Sinclair produces and markets base oils and other specialized lubricants in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, and export products to more than 80 countries. The Company, through its subsidiary, HollyFrontier Corporation produces renewable diesel at two of its facilities in Wyoming. The Company supplies fuels to more than 1,300 Sinclair branded stations and licenses the use of the Sinclair brand at more than 300 additional locations throughout the country. DINO’s market cap is around $8.7 billion.

Earnings and Sales Growth: Over the last twelve months, earnings increased by 102%, while revenues grew by 1.43%. In the last quarter, earnings declined by a little more than -32.6% while sales fell by about -15.8%. DINO’s operating profile is showing signs of weakness; over the last twelve months, Net Income was 8.13 % of Revenues and declined to 4.67% in the last quarter.

Free Cash Flow: DINO’s free cash flow is very healthy, at $3.03 billion over the last twelve months. That marks an increase from $1.2 billion a year ago, but did drop from $3.25 billion in the last quarter. The current number translates to a healthy Free Cash Flow Yield of 13.23%.

Debt to Equity: DINO’s debt/equity ratio 0.29. This is a low number that speaks to management’s conservative approach to leverage. As of the last quarter, the company reported about $1.36 billion in cash and liquid assets against about $2.93 billion in long-term debt. The company’s operating profile indicates that debt service isn’t a concern, however the current decline in Net Income is a concern that could challenge their otherwise healthy financial flexibility.

Dividend: DINO’s annual divided is $1.80 per share, which translates to a yield of 3.91% at the stock’s current price. Management suspended its dividend in 2020, owing partly to pandemic-related pressures but also to provide financial capacity to pursue a couple of major refinery acquisitions in 2021 in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain areas of the U.S. Management reinstated its dividend in May of last year at $1.60 per share, and increased it at the start of this year to its current level. An increasing dividend is a strong sign of management’s confidence in their long-term road ahead.

Price/Book Ratio: there are a lot of ways to measure how much a stock should be worth; but I like to worth with a combination of Price/Book and Price/Cash Flow analysis. Together, these measurements provide a long-term target at about $65 per share. That suggests that the stock is significantly undervalued, with about 43.6% upside from its current price.

Technical Profile

Here’s a look at the stock’s latest technical chart.

Current Price Action/Trends and Pivots: The red diagonal line traces the stock’s downward trend from a high at around $66 in November of last year to its low in May at around $37. It also provides the baseline for the Fibonacci retracement lines shown on the chart. From that May low, the stock has rallied, and appears to be hitting latest, immediate resistance at around $46 per share. Current support is around $44, based on a pivot high seen in late May. A push above $36 should find next resistance a little above $48 where the 38.2% retracement line sits. A drop below $44 should find next support at about $41.50 based on the most recent pivot low, seen at the start of June.

Near-term Keys: I think DINO’s latest rally gives the stock an interesting bullish signal along with its very interesting value proposition. That value proposition is validated by an generally healthy set of fundamentals. If you prefer to focus on short-term trading strategies, a drop below $44 could be a signal to consider shorting the stock or buying put options, with $41.50 offering a practical bearish profit target. A push above $46, on the other hand could be a nice signal to think about buying the stock or working with call options, using $48 as a practical bullish profit target, with additional room to about $50.50 possible if buying activity increases.

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