The energy sector consists of stocks related to the production and supply of energy around the world. The sector includes upstream firms that are involved in the exploration and production of oil or gas reserves, such as EOG Resources Inc. (EOG). Also in the sector are downstream companies that refine and process oil and gas products for delivery to consumers, including HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC). As represented by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE), the energy sector has declined by 11.8% in the trailing 12-month period. This is far behind the S&P 500, which has climbed by 16.3% in the same time. All figures are as of November 18, 2019.

In spite of challenges facing the energy sector as a whole, some individual companies have thrived. Below we'll look at the top 3 energy stocks with the best value, the fastest earnings growth, and the most momentum.

Energy Stocks with the Best Value

These are the energy sector stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you're paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Energy Stocks with the Best Value
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) 22.56 8.7 7.1
ConocoPhillips ( COP) 58.25 63.9 7.9
Cimarex Energy Co. ( XEC) 46.86 4.7 9.3
Source: YCharts
  • Devon Energy Corp.: Devon Energy is an upstream company focused on the exploration and development of oil and gas resources. Devon Energy focuses its efforts primarily in the central United States. In a Q3 2019 earnings report on November 5, 2019, Devon Energy reported a significant decrease in profit on an annualized basis, owing in large part to the sale of its position in pipeline operator EnLink Midstream in 2018.
  • ConocoPhillips: One of the largest energy companies in the country, ConocoPhillips is involved in the exploration, production, transportation, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and related products. In a recent earnings call, ConocoPhillips revealed that, in spite of a major stock buyback program, the company is heavy in cash and short-term investments. As of the end of the most recent quarter, ConocoPhillips had about $8.4 billion in these areas, which may help it to pivot toward a greater focus on renewable energy.
  • Cimarex Energy Co.: Upstream company Cimarex Energy is also focused on oil and gas exploration. Like Devon Energy, Cimarex focuses its operations primarily in the central U.S. Cimarex recently posted Q3 2019 earnings per share, which was below analyst expectations and down more than 50% from the prior year. Q3 revenue was down year-over-year as well, although Cimarex did beat analyst expectations for the most recent quarter.

Energy Stocks with the Fastest Growth

These are the energy sector stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company's business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.

Energy Stocks with the Fastest Growth
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) Normal Diluted EPS Growth (%)
Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) 20.44 46.3 152.3
Williams Companies Inc. (WMB) 22.36 27.1 90.0
Baker Hughes Co. (BKR) 22.69 23.3 58.0
Source: YCharts
  • Kinder Morgan Inc.: Kinder Morgan focuses on midstream oil services, meaning it owns and control pipelines used to transport various gas and oil products. Kinder Morgan's operations are active across more than 150 terminals connected by some 85,000 miles of pipeline. This network may soon grow in size as Kinder Morgan works to finalize a deal to purchase Southcross Energy's pipeline system.
  • Williams Companies Inc.: Williams Companies is an integrated energy company involved in both the exploration, production, and transport of oil and gas. In Q3 2019, Williams Companies saw net income attributable to Williams available to common stockholders of $220 million, up 71%.
  • Baker Hughes Co.: Baker Hughes is one of the largest oil field services companies in the world. This firm provides other energy companies with products related to exploration, drilling, and production. Formerly traded under BHGE, in October Baker Hughes changed its name to Baker Hughes Co. and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BKR.

Energy Stocks With the Most Momentum

These are the energy sector stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.

Energy Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Phillips 66 (PSX) 118.36 52.6 28.5
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) 100.61 41.3 26.2
Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) 20.44 46.3 24.9
S&P 500 (SPY) -- -- 16.3
Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) -- -- -11.8
Source: YCharts
  • Phillips 66: Phillips 66 operates refineries, gas stations, and production facilities in some 65 countries around the globe. This company had a particularly strong October, its stock rising by more than 15%.
  • Valero Energy Corp.: Valero is a petroleum refining and marketing business. It operates facilities in the U.S. as well as in Canada and Aruba, producing a variety of gasolines, jet fuel, asphalt, petrochemicals, and more. In Q3 2019, Valero reported a sharp decline in net income in Q3 2018.
  • Kinder Morgan Inc.: See above for company description.