The energy sector is comprised of companies focused on the exploration, production, and marketing of oil, gas, and renewable resources around the world. Popular energy sector stocks include upstream firms that are primarily engaged in the exploration of oil or gas reserves. Well-known examples of companies in this group are Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) and EOG Resources Inc. (EOG). Downstream companies that include HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC) refine and process oil and gas products for delivery to consumers. As represented by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE), the energy sector has lost 13.4% in the trailing 12-month period, far behind the S&P 500, which has climbed by 22.6%. These market performance numbers and the statistics in the tables below are as of February 24.

In spite of poor performance across the energy sector as a whole, a handful of 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.

Best Value Energy Stocks

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.

Best Value Energy Stocks
   Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) 15.35 6.1 8.0
Cimarex Energy Co. (XEC) 43.30 4.4 8.6
HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC) 42.61 6.9 9.3

Source: YCharts

  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.: Cabot Oil & Gas develops and explores properties throughout North America, including locations in Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and Western United States.
  • Cimarex Energy Co.: Cimarex Energy is a crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company, operating primarily in the Midwest and the state of Texas. On February 19, Cimarex Energy declared a quarterly dividend of $0.22 per share, a 10% increase over the company's most recent dividend.
  • HollyFrontier Corp.: Petroleum company HollyFrontier is involved in refining, storage, transportation, and more. The firm markets its products throughout North America. For Q4 2019, HollyFrontier reported net income attributable to stockholders of $60.6 million, down about 57.3% year-over-year (YOY).

Fastest Growing Energy Stocks

These are the energy sector stocks with the highest 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.

Fastest Growing Energy Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%)
Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP) 45.47 5.0 58.8
Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG) 78.48 12.5 42.1
Williams Companies Inc. (WMB) 22.05 26.7 38.5

Source: YCharts

  • Helmerich & Payne Inc.: Helmerich & Payne, a horizontal and directional driller, provides contract services at oil and gas wells in South America and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Diamondback Energy Inc.: Diamondback Energy seeks the development, exploration, and exploitation of oil and natural gas resources in the energy-rich Permian Basin, located in Texas. In February, Diamondback Energy announced that it would double its annual cash dividend to $1.50 per common share.
  • Williams Companies Inc.: Energy infrastructure enterprise Williams Companies is a midstream company operating natural gas pipelines across North America. For FY2019, Williams Companies reported net income from continuing operations attributable to common stockholders of $852 million, up $1.0 billion YOY.

Energy Stocks With the Most Momentum

These are the energy sector stocks that had the highest positive price change over the last 12 months.

Energy Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Total Return (%)
Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) 22.24 50.4 21.8
ONEOK Inc. (OKE) 77.52 32.0 19.8
Hess Corp. (HES) 64.72 19.7 12.2
S&P 500 -- -- 22.6
Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) -- -- -13.4

Source: YCharts

  • Kinder Morgan Inc.: Kinder Morgan owns and control pipelines used to transport various gas and oil products. Its operations are active across more than 150 terminals connected by 85,000 miles of pipeline.
  • ONEOK Inc.: ONEOK focuses exclusively on the gathering, processing, storage, and transportation of natural gas in the United States. ONEOK recently increased its quarterly dividend.
  • Hess Corp.: Hess is a global energy company engaged in the exploration, development, marketing, refining, and transportation of natural gas and crude oil products. Last month, Hess announced a major oil discovery offshore Guyana at the Uaru well, contributing an additional estimated 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent to the block.