energy stocks to buy
If you could pick stocks to buy among the companies tied to the California Gold Rush, miners would not have been your best bets.
The miners were not guaranteed to get rich. While some of them did in spectacular fashion, many went completely broke.
One subset of those who flocked to the region actually did very well for themselves. They were the ones who ventured out not to look for gold but to sell supplies. It may not have been as exciting as digging for gold, but the profits were sure and steady.
Merchants made a fine living and built fortunes selling axes, pans and other items to the masses of gold hunters flocking to the region.
Business was so good that one firm in New York took to the region to sell tents, bedding and denim pants to the miners.
Indeed, young Levi Strauss experienced quite a run of success in this endeavor...
The same profit distribution has been true over the years in the oil and gas industry to some degree. Much like the Gold Rush, there are risks associated with the search for oil and gas exploration and production.
Although they cannot always escape the economic cycle of the industry, the company that sell supplies are not exposed to as much high-cost and risk as the exploration companies are. That's why many of these suppliers have managed to stay in the black, while the exploration and production companies have struggled for profits.
And it's why some of the best energy stocks to buy now are the supporting players in the continued exploration process.
This Dangerous "New" Energy Crisis is Crippling the Middle East
Don't look now, but there are some problems developing in the global energy network.
It's hardly reassuring that the epicenter of all this is the Middle East.
The primary problem is hardly new. Actually, calling it an "old" problem is more accurate because the culprit is a collapsing network of delivery and storage that has been deteriorating for decades.
Unfortunately, this is hitting areas already beset by broad, accelerating economic shortfalls the hardest. That they also happen to be areas of significant unrest hardly improves the situation.
The latest is in Pakistan. There a combination of lower-than-expected water availability and a government powerless to provide the diesel fuel essential for the planting season means a population already on the brink is staring at food shortages.
The picture is very grim.
What Germany's Energy Problems Can Teach Us About Our Own
Marina and I will soon board a plane for another trip to Europe.
We are off to Frankfurt, where I have meetings on European natural gas import costs; meanwhile, my better half gets to spoil our grandchildren, who live just outside the city.
My responsibility is to address the energy balance problems emerging for the continent. The focus may be on Germany and the rest of Western Europe, but these problems are emerging elsewhere around the world.
With Berlin opting to phase out nuclear power, the continent's largest economy now has a daunting task to assemble an energy mix that meets expected demand.
This started as a political tradeoff, but it is likely to become the major concern in the broader national strategy to stave off recession. A similar tradeoff is developing in the United States.
A much-ballyhooed German venture into solar and wind has hit a brick wall. There is now a played-down move to import additional nuclear-generated power from neighbors, but now the country is doing the unthinkable to meet its energy demands.
This environmentally conscious country, with one of the strongest green political movements in Europe, is now importing more coal than at any point in the past decade.
The options are limited, along with the time to decide on how to implement all of it. That is likely to result in a political tradeoff distasteful to just about every political party and interest group in Germany.
However, the problems do not end there.
Two Energy Stocks to Buy Now Before Prices Rebound
If you're looking for energy stocks to buy, now's a good time to snag some deals.
Energy stocks have seriously lagged the overall stock market for some time now as the weak economy has reduced demand.
The Energy Information Agency released a report Feb. 27 stating that oil demand in 2012 was the lowest since 1996, and gasoline demand was the lowest since 2001.
Although it can be difficult to measure accurately, a slower-than-historical growth rate in China seems to have slowed demand from the world's largest importing nation as well.
As a result, the oil services exchange-traded fund (NYSE: OIH) is up just over 0.2% in the past year, compared to the overall market's 15% return. The Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSE: VDE) has a wider scope of energy companies, but also lags the market with a 12-month return of just 4.16%.
In spite of the current weakness in demand, the one thing we know for certain is that the global economy cannot pick up without an increase in demand for oil and gas. Although these stocks are out of favor right now, the odds are high that over the next several years they will become growth darlings once again as energy demand inevitably rises.
Patient contrarian investors can take advantage of this potential profit landfall by buying into these energy stocks now, while they are unloved and very cheap based on historical levels and future prospects.
Why Oil Refiners Are Among the Best Energy Stocks to Buy Now
Shale oil production continues its upward path, increasing overall U.S. oil production and making specific groups of energy stocks among the best to buy right now.
In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported last month that domestic oil production surpassed the 7 million barrel a day level, the highest point in nearly 20 years. Production this year, the EIA says, will rise by another 14%.
This is obviously good news for the companies producing that oil, and it gets even better. Many industries outside the energy sector, including chemicals and railroads, have benefited from the shale boom.
But there is one subsector in the energy industry that has reaped the rewards of plentiful oil from the Bakken and other areas more than any other, and that's the refining industry.
How to Profit as the Global Energy Crisis Accelerates
For months, the signs of an impending global energy shakeup have been building.
This is not to say that we have an impending long-term shortage (it is not, in other words, a Peak Oil prophecy coming true) or that the lights are about to go out around the globe.
However, it does appear we are moving into another round of concerns for energy balance and production moving forward.
A combination of reasons exists for the accelerating crises.
Most of them are either the result of expanding energy requirements (a rise in aggregate demand) or the increase in baseline production and generation costs.
The first is playing out in regions typically unknown for their energy intensity. This is more the case outside the OECD countries (the most developed industrially). We should expect such a result, given the movement of new energy demand into these regions.
While the media attention centers on the U.S. and European markets, the other nations have driven global demand for some time. That means any spike in prices worldwide will have an impact on what it costs to obtain energy just about everywhere else.
As an investor, you should not focus on where the energy is produced. Remember, this is a globally integrated market, and prices will reflect that fact.
Still, it's the second trend that is causing the most significant problems moving forward.
And investors will have plenty of opportunities to profit as this problem accelerates.
Five Energy Stocks to Buy That Offer Juicy Dividends with Low Risk
The only thing better than a sector with a lot of growth potential - like energy stocks - is finding a financially sound group of stocks to buy within that sector that pays a healthy dividend to boot.
And a recent screen by investment research firm Value Line turned up five such energy stocks, all electric and gas utilities.
Technically, Value Line cast a wider net that included all stocks. The screen actually yielded 17 stocks, many of them well-known companies like McDonald's Corp., Lockheed Martin and General Mills.
But the beauty of an exercise like this is finding the less-obvious gems, which in this case turned out to be mostly energy stocks.
Value Line used several proprietary filters - financial strength, safety and timeliness -
to narrow the list.
This Quantum Leap Will "Redefine" Tech by the End of the Year
It promises to spot terrorists - before they strike.
It will predict killer storms - warning us when and where they'll hit.
This new technology trend known as "Big Data" is sweeping the globe. It's expected to facilitate stunning - even life-saving - transformations in intelligence-gathering, meteorology, medicine, finance, and virtually every other field you can think of.
But only if a major problem can be solved.
That problem - a critical obstacle, really - is one that keeps getting in the way. It's called the "memory wall" and it's the one digital barricade that every computer engineer in the world wants to hurdle.
Today I'm going to give you a peek at the potential solution to this digital bottleneck - a solution so revolutionary that a respected trade journal recently named it one of the 10 technologies most likely to transform the electronics industry.
I'm going to introduce you to the "Killer Elite" that cracked this computing conundrum.
And I'm going to tell you how you can profit from an innovative breakthrough that most retail investors aren't even aware of yet.
Investing in Alternative Energy Stocks: Five Solar Power Winners
It has been a tough year for solar power.
Solyndra famously imploded, the price of polysilicon dropped 60%, and a glut of natural gas has made it the "new" alternative energy source.
But make no mistake about it: alternative energy stocks are going to be long-term winners-especially for solar power investors.
For instance did you know that Germans are initiating a campaign valued at more than $260 billion to harness wind and solar power. It is already being called the biggest restructuring of the national energy landscape since the end of World War II.
Or that China plans to double its solar power capacity by installing three GW this year, according to China Daily.
And despite the recent declines, analysts expect European demand to rise again in 2012. UBS forecasts that solar power generation will rise from 21 GW in 2011 to 25 GW in 2012.
What's more, solar panel prices are expected to stabilize as a result of tighter inventories and improving demand.
That's increasing talk within the industry that pure-play alternative energy stocks could be gobbled up by oil companies or large-scale manufacturers.
With that in mind here are five solar power possibilities, including innovative companies, takeover targets, and companies that can compete on cost.
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