Exxon, Chevron Downgraded By Raymond James

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. declined Monday as analysts at Raymond James downgraded both Big Oil companies amid the steep drop in oil prices. Exxon's "ultra defensive" characteristics, including the company's large chemicals and refining businesses, has insulated Exxon from the worst of the falling oil prices, but the stock is expected to be an underperformer, the Raymond James analysts said. Raymond James downgraded Exxon to market perform from outperform. Chevron, which was downgraded to outperform from strong buy, is approaching the peak of its spending while production growth is likely to accelerate in the next two years. Raymond James also upgraded Hess Corp. to outperform, and Occidental Petroleum Corp. to strong buy. Shares of Hess also fell, but Occidental shares gained, one of the few energy stocks in the black on Monday. Crude-oil futures fell 0.6%.

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