YTD Performance: +78%
With energy prices relatively soft and crude oil struggling to challenge the $100-per-barrel level, you wouldn’t think that this sector would be booming. But in fact, it’s not — with majors like Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) slightly underperforming year-to-date in 2012.
Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) is a different story, however. This mid-cap refiner operates in the western U.S. and turns crude into gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and other products. It also sells the gas at some 1,175 retail outlets.
A lot of Tesoro’s gains have come in August, after a refinery fire at a Chevron refinery limited production and made TSO facilities in huge demand. Further stoking gains was news that Tesoro would be buying a California refinery from BP (NYSE:BP), along with about 800 gas stations in the region. Experts predicted this could boost earnings per share by roughly 25%.
So while oil prices might not be soft, circumstances and a shrewd acquisition pushed Tesoro to the head of the pack.