A new note from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dives into fourth quarter earnings calls to get a sense of how these CEOs were dealing with the downturn that has been dragging on for nearly three years. The team of strategists, led by Peter Hackworth, came away with good news for oil bulls.
"There is one clear message from the 1,000 plus pages of fourth quarter transcripts: that most CEOs believe that the worst is over, and the time for growth is now," the team writes. "While some management teams expressed more caution than others, the industry as a whole is retooling," they said, adding that they estimate 85 percent of the companies that they cover are planning to increase capital expenditures in 2017, a sign that they believe they'll need to increase production soon.
Another helpful bit for the industry is that throughout the sustained downturn, many firms have learned to "do less with more," so that when prices do turnaround, they get an even bigger benefit than before.
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