Economic expansion and growth in North American oil stocks made 2010
a "wonderful year" for energy investors
Jan. 13, 2011 (Business Wire) -- Despite a poor start, 2010 finished as a "wonderful year" for energy investors, with more than 65 percent of oil and gas stocks delivering positive returns last year, according to the IHS Herold 2010 Energy Peer Group Stock Market Performance Report, which wasjust released by information and insight provider IHS. Driven by economic growth, crude prices, which hit bottom in late May 2010 at around $65 per barrel, rose steadily and consistently through the second half of the year, and took oil company shares with them.
The median gain for the 503 stocks covered in the report was 21 percent, which, while it did not match the record-setting 59 percent gain posted in the 2009 IHS report, did outperform the market indices of nearly all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Total capitalization jumped by more than $300 billion, further reducing the severe losses the sector incurred in 2008 the report said, but did not extinguish them.
"Sometime in the first quarter of 2009, equity markets began to move upward in response to the economic growth that was becoming apparent in OECD countries," said Robert Gillon, senior vice president and co-director of energy equity research at IHS. "It seemed as though every statistic that confirmed expansion was under way was reflected in a rise in the price of crude, which boded well for oil stocks. That pattern continued throughout the year, with oil prices and oil shares at a recovery high at the closing bell of 2010. In particular, North American oil stocks delivered the most returns to their investors."
After finishing second-to-last as a peer group in 2009, U.S. Royalty Trusts earned redemption by taking top honors in 2010 as the best performing peer group reviewed, posting a gain of more than 44 percent. MV Oil Trust led the group by posting a return of 111 percent.
Companies in the E&P Limited Income Partnerships group followed closely with gains of nearly 43 percent. According to the IHS report, these survey-leading returns were in response to monetary stimuli by numerous central banks, where open-market interest rates fell to the lowest levels seen in decades, which forced yield-conscious investors to take on more risk in order to maintain their desired level of income.
"The vast amount of liquidity being injected into the economic system, particularly in the U.S. has resulted in a strong correlation between equity prices and oil prices," Gillon noted. "By contrast, for many years prior to 2009, there was a reverse relationship, with higher crude prices perceived to cause a reduction in disposable income, lower consumer spending, and declining domestic product and stock prices. To our mind, this is the normal state of affairs, but to predict we will be back to normal in short order would be unwise."