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Tickers in this Article: OIH, XLE, CWEI, XOM, EXH, XES
Recently, I was talking to an institutional salesman who works for an energy boutique firm and the subject came up of whether any energy stocks hadn't moved up with the recent rally in the overall market. IN PICTURES: 20 Tools For Building Up Your Portfolio

Although the S&P 500 is up 34% from the lows reached in March 2009, much of the energy sector is up a multiple of that, with some names doubling or tripling. This can be seen in the strong performance of several index products that contain energy names. For example, Oil Services HOLDRs (NYSE:OIH) has been bumping along the bottom in the mid-$60 range for the last year. Currently, it trades near $100.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLE) has moved up 33% from its lows in March 2009. However, it has not performed as well as Oil Services HOLDRs because it is weighted down with the largest cap names in the sector, including Exxon-Mobil (NYSE:XOM), which comprises 22% of the fund (For related reading, read Investing In Oil And Gas UITs.)

Smaller indexes are up even more. The S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services SPDR (NYSE:XES), for example, is up 64% from its lows.

However, the following energy stocks appear to have been left behind. Although both have experienced strong gains since bottoming, each has lagged the energy sector overall.

Exterran Holdings (NYSE:EXH) has moved up 25% from its low of $14.91 in March 2009. The company provides oil services to its customers - mostly natural gas compression. The company was created when two large compressor companies merged together in 2007. Exterran has higher leverage than some of its peers, but its first debt maturity is not until 2011.

It's possible that some investors have avoided this name in favor of others because it is exposed in the natural gas markets where concern abounds about prices, given high storage levels and no discernible drop in supply.

Clayton Williams Energy (Nasdaq:CWEI) bottomed at $19.37 in March 2009 and has since moved up more than 40% to its current price of $28.25. While this strong move may impress investors, the stock was trading at $120 per share last summer.

Clayton Williams Energy operates in the mid-continent and Gulf Coast areas. Fifty-nine percent of its reserves lie in the Permian Basin, which is mostly oil. The company also has acreage in North Louisiana, where its reserves are mostly natural gas.(For further reading, see Unearth Profits In Oil Exploration And Production.)

Bottom Line
Energy stocks have been among the best performers during the recent market rally from the lows of March 2009. While investors may feel that it is too late to participate, there are some energy names that have lagged behind and might provide the outperformance investors are seeking. (For more, read our Oil And Gas Industry Primer.)

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