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Holiday Season Good for Oil Stocks

Commodities / Oil Companies Dec 21, 2009 - 11:36 AM GMT

By: Frank_Holmes

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIf 2010 follows the pattern of the past 15 years, we are approaching the start of a seasonal climb in the price of crude oil that could present a good investment opportunity in energy-related stocks.

Oil is down from its 2009 peak of $81 per barrel seen in October, but we remain constructive on energy stocks given the improving economy and positive seasonal factors heading into the new year.


As the 15-year chart above illustrates, much of the recent drop in the price of oil lately can be explained by commodity price weakness that typically occurs from October through December, and thus does not represent a cyclical downturn.

These seasonal factors include a reduction in driving during the fall and more moderate temperatures between the summer cooling and winter heating seasons. During the 15-year period, January has typically been the month in which the seasonal oil price trend starts back up again as markets prepare for the summer driving season.

It is interesting to note that, while crude oil prices are usually soft during this time of year, energy stocks begin to strengthen in December, offering nimble investors an opportunity to capitalize on favorable seasonal strength to come.

The chart below shows month-over-month performance trends for the S&P 500 Energy Index over the past 20 years through November 2009.

On average, these large energy stocks have gained 2 percent in December over the past two decades. After a dip in January, the index has charged forward with average month-over-month gains exceeding 2 percent in three of the next four months before a seasonal falloff beginning in June.

The line graph shows the frequency of positive returns in each month. Twelve of the past 20 Decembers (60 percent) have seen positive returns for the S&P Energy Index – in April and May, positive returns have occurred in 15 of the past 20 years, or 75 percent of the measures.

We believe supply and demand fundamentals for energy will tighten as the economic recovery takes hold next year, and that energy stocks will benefit.

Earlier this month the International Energy Agency raised its 2010 forecast for global oil demand, largely as a result of accelerating economic growth in China. OPEC is also expecting oil demand to increase.

It’s a different story on the supply side -- the energy team at PIRA sees net global oil output actually declining in 2010, which would tighten spare capacity to less than 1.8 million barrels per day, roughly half of current levels, and likely exert an upward pressure on prices.

By Frank Holmes, CEO , U.S. Global Investors

Frank Holmes is CEO and chief investment officer at U.S. Global Investors , a Texas-based investment adviser that specializes in natural resources, emerging markets and global infrastructure. The company's 13 mutual funds include the Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) , Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) and Global MegaTrends Fund (MEGAX) .

More timely commentary from Frank Holmes is available in his investment blog, “Frank Talk”: www.usfunds.com/franktalk .

Please consider carefully the fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. Gold funds may be susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory developments due to concentrating in a single theme. The price of gold is subject to substantial price fluctuations over short periods of time and may be affected by unpredicted international monetary and political policies. We suggest investing no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio in gold or gold stocks. The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more of U.S. Global Investors family of funds as of 12-31-07 : streetTRACKS Gold Trust.

Frank Holmes Archive

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