Big oil stocks have been decidedly soft across the last year or so. This includes megacap Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), up just 7% in the past 12 months vs. 18% for the S&P 500 Index. BP (NYSE:BP) also is up about 7% in the same time frame, and Occidental Petrolum (NYSE:OXY) is up a mere 2%.
Sure, refineries like Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) and Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) went on a tear, thanks largely to a spread between West Texas and Brent crude prices … but the momentum is waning, and most energy companies have been left behind.
But if you believe that a cyclical recovery is in the works for the next few years, then the energy sector might not be a bad place to look. After all, a more robust economic outlook means bigger demand for crude and subsequently bigger profits for oil stocks.
Obviously you’ll have to be patient, especially after some recent news and data regarding China’s slowdown and stagnant U.S. GDP. But what if you can grab a juicy dividend to offset some of that underperformance while you wait, then be in great position once the oil demand picks up?
That’s exactly what these three picks provide.