Oil stocks still worth avoiding – usually fall more than crude prices.

I suggested in prior post that oil would be in trouble due to the COVID-19 impact on fuel demand. The stocks are being clobbered, and one might be tempted to ‘buy low.’ After all, Chevron’s dividend yield is above 5%.  Exon Mobile’s dividend yield is nearly 7%. However, experience has taught me that when it comes to the stocks of energy companies, they tend to outperform the crude price (overshoot) and under-perform when oil prices are falling. You can see this is the below chart comparing the price of Chevron (as one example) to the price of WTI crude.


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An advantage the U.S. has enjoyed over the past year is rising exports. According to the recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) Weekly Report:

U.S. crude oil exports averaged 2.98 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019, an increase of 930,000 b/d (45%) from 2018 (Figure 1). The number of destinations for U.S. crude oil exports increased from 41 to 44, and Canada continued to receive the largest share (15%, or 459,000 b/d), followed by South Korea (14%, or 426,000 b/d). U.S. crude oil exports to China, the third-largest export destination in 2018, fell by nearly 100,000 b/d to average 133,000 b/d in 2019.

Oil futures prices EIAAlthough exports from the US to other countries more than offset the decline in China last year, this won’t be the case for the next several months or even years.  It is also unlikely OPEC can afford to reduce production sufficiently to help the industry in a meaningful way.  We need to wait for demand to rebound to normal levels and there’s no telling at this juncture how long this will take.  No wonder then that crude futures prices are heading south. Just be aware the stocks will head even further south.  The opportunity to buy will be provided when we see inventories of crude far above the five-year average but no longer climbing.  You won’t want to buy (no analyst will be sticking their necks out to recommend the stocks), but that’ll be the time to step up and make some serious money. Yes the dividend yields are way up there…until they cut the dividends.




About Mal Spooner

Malvin Spooner is a veteran money manager, former CEO of award-winning investment fund management boutique he founded. He authored A Maverick Investor's Guidebook which blends his experience touring across the heartland in the United States with valuable investing tips and stories. He has been quoted and published for many years in business journals, newspapers and has been featured on many television programs over his career. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, and known across Canada as a part-time musician performing rock ‘n’ roll for charity, Mal is known for his candour and non-traditional (‘maverick’) thinking when discussing financial markets. His previous book published by Insomniac Press — Resources Rock: How to Invest in the Next Global Boom in Natural Resources which he authored with Pamela Clark — predicted the resources boom back in early 2004.
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1 Response to Oil stocks still worth avoiding – usually fall more than crude prices.

  1. Pingback: Just before the carnage I said avoid the oils; I’ve decided to start buying again. – Maverick Investors

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