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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: BP, Exxon Mobil, Kinder Morgan, Weatherford International and North Atlantic Drilling

CHICAGO, Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the BP plc (NYSE:BP-Free Report), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM-Free Report), Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE:KMI-Free Report), Weatherford International plc (NYSE:WFT-Free Report) and North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NYSE:NADL-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc.,

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Oil & Gas Stock Roundup

It was a week where BP plc (NYSE:BP-Free Report) named David Lawler as CEO for its planned U.S. onshore unit and reports surfaced about Exxon Mobil Corp.'s (NYSE:XOM-Free Report) possible $10 billion deal with PetroVietnam.  

Overall, it was a mixed week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures declined yet again – this time by 3.8% – to close at $93.65 per barrel. Meanwhile, natural gas prices rallied 1.7% over the period and ended the week at around $3.84 per million Btu (MMBtu). (See last 'Oil & Gas Stock Roundup' here: Shell Shakes Up Portfolio, Apache Strikes Big Down Under.)

Oil prices slumped below $95 a barrel to their lowest level since mid-January on easing geopolitical tensions, a strong dollar, soft manufacturing numbers from China and reopening of Libyan export facilities. The negative sentiment was partially offset by a spate of positive economic reports on the domestic front and bullish inventory data.

On the other hand, natural gas fared much better, as it shrugged off another above-average supply increase. The commodity was buoyed by expectations of strong electric power demand with forecasts of hotter weather across most parts of the U.S.

Recap of the Week's Most Important Stories

1. British energy major BP plc announced the appointment of David Lawler as the chief executive officer (CEO) of its U.S. business, effective Sep 15. The move is in sync with the proposed spinoff of BP's onshore oil and gas assets in the U.S. into a new company. The unit has the equivalent of 7.6 billion barrels of oil across 5.5 million acres and a stake in more than 21,000 wells. The spinoff is expected to be completed early 2015. The new company will still be owned by BP, but will run independently and disclose separate financial results for its business. (Read More: BP Appoints New CEO-for US Business Post Spinoff Proposal.)

2. Energy behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. is likely to sign an agreement with state-run PetroVietnam on a $10 billion natural gas and power project - the country's biggest of its kind, by 2015. The proposed natural gas fields – to be developed by PetroVietnam – are projected to be the fourth largest in East Asia. The development plans have got momentum from Exxon Mobil's huge gas discovery off the coast in 2012. (Read More: Exxon, PetroVietnam Likely to Enter $10B Gas & Power Project.)

3. Energy company Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE:KMI-Free Report) has received an early clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act from the Federal Trade Commission for its planned purchase of its affiliate Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. The deal also entails the acquisition of all the outstanding equity securities of two other subsidiaries – Kinder Morgan Management LLC and El Paso Pipeline Partners L.P. The $70 billion restructuring is expected to close by end of 2014. With an enterprise value of about $140 billion, the combined entity will represent the largest energy infrastructure company in North America and the third-largest energy company overall.

4. Weatherford International plc (NYSE:WFT-Free Report), the provider of equipment for the oil and gas industry, has received an unwanted "mini-tender" offer notification by privately held TRC Capital to acquire up to 5,000,000 shares (or about 0.65% of the outstanding ordinary shares of Weatherford) at $21.25 per share. TRC Capital's offer is about 4.3% below Weatherford's closing price of $22.10 on August 18, 2014, the day before the offer. This unsolicited mini-tender offer has not been approved by Weatherford and the company has urged shareholders to reject it. (Read More: Weatherford Urges Shareholders to Reject TRC Capital's Offer.)

5. North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NYSE:NADL-Free Report), a unit of the Norwegian offshore drilling contractor SeaDrill Ltd. (SDRL), entered into an exchange deal with the Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft. Per the agreement, North Atlantic Drilling will receive a significant part of Roseneft's Russian land drilling fleet in exchange of cash and a 30% stake in the company. The deal is expected to close in the final quarter of the year. (Read More: North Atlantic Drilling & Rosneft Ink Equity-Asset Swap Deal.)

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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