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Oil prices hit a 10-year low in January 2016, but since then they rose 47%. That means the top oil stocks of 2016 saw huge returns.
To give investors an overview of how well oil stocks did in 2016, Money Morning made a list of the top oil stocks of 2016. To make our list of the top oil stocks, we looked at companies with biggest stock price growth and market cap of at least $1 billion.
One of the main reasons oil prices jumped in 2016 was the OPEC agreement reached on Nov. 30. That deal went into effect on Jan. 1. And as long as the OPEC deal stays in place, oil prices could be heading even higher. That's why oil stocks will continue to be a strong play in the new year.
Even though 2016 is over, our list can help you see which oil stocks benefited from higher oil prices.
Here are the best oil stocks of 2016...
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 10: PetroChina Co. Ltd.
PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR) is China's largest oil company with a market cap of $216.52 billion. PTR is partially owned by the Chinese government.
In 2016, PetroChina sold off nearly 50% of its stake in China Reform Holdings, a gas pipeline operator between China and central Asia. This sell-off is part of a larger strategy by PetroChina to monetize its gas pipelines and reinvest the money elsewhere.
Two financial analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance predict PTR will increase its earnings per share (EPS) by more than 800% in 2017.
PTR grew by 12% during 2016 and currently trades at $79.01 per share. PTR is also up 7% in 2017.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 9: Chevron Corp.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is a $217.16 billion oil company based in the United States.
The CVX share price gained 43% in 2016 as oil prices rebounded. Chevron gained 7% alone between the Nov. 30 OPEC agreement and the end of the year.
Chevron's impressive 43% gain in 2016 isn't the best on our oil stocks list, but CVX pays an annual dividend yield of 3.7%, which provides additional income to its shareholders.
CVX currently trades at $115.50 a share.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 8: Encana Corp.
Canada-based Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA) was the eighth top oil company stock in 2016, with a 131% gain over the year. ECA and its subsidiaries focus on developing, exploring, producing, and marketing natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and oil in North America.
The Globe and Mail reports the company switched its focus from natural gas to oil around 2013. The company struggled as oil prices fell 60% between July 2014 and January 2016.
But with oil prices on the rise again, Encana is reinvigorated. On Jan. 4, Encana announced it had already reached its 2017 operating capacity.
ECA currently trades at $12.71 a share. Encana's market cap is $12.51 billion.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 7: Petroleo Brasileira SA Petrobras
Petroleo Brasileira SA Petrobras (NYSE ADR: PBR) is Brazil's largest oil company and it's our seventh best oil stock of 2016. Petrobras is an oil and natural gas exploration and production firm. It is also an operator of oil tankers, pipelines, and terminals in South America and globally.
Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was previously on the board of directors for Petrobras. Rousseff was impeached as part of a corruption scandal involving the government and Petrobras. But the scandal hasn't weakened PBR's stock performance.
PBR gained 135% in 2016. It has a market cap of $66.98 billion and currently trades at $10.92. It's up nearly 8% so far in 2017.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 6: WPX Energy Inc.
WPX Energy Inc. (NYSE: WPX) is a natural gas and oil company based in Oklahoma. WPX focuses on the exploration and development of natural gas and oil fields in North America, including the Permian Basin in Texas and the Williston Basin in North Dakota.
WPX has a market cap of $4.66 billion, making it one of the smallest companies on our oil stocks list. But WPX shares climbed 178% in 2016.
WPX currently trades at $13.85 a share.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 5: Enerplus Corp.
Enerplus Corp. (NYSE: ERF) is a $2.1 billion oil company based in Calgary and trades on both the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange. ERF primarily produces crude oil in the Bakken fields in North Dakota and Western Canada.
ERF soared 241% in 2016. ERF shares currently trade at $8.89.
If you think the gains on this list have been huge, the next oil stocks on our list all had gains above 200%, including a stock with a 364% gain in 2016.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 4: Glencore Plc.
Glencore Plc. (LON: GLEN) is a Swiss commodities company trading on the London Stock Exchange. Glencore is the world's biggest commodity trader, according to Bloomberg. In addition to oil, Glencore trades in other natural resources, namely metals and minerals. GLEN operates globally and has a current market cap of $42.97 billion.
GLEN's stock price rose 258% in 2016. GLEN currently trades at $295.31 and is up nearly 8% in 2017.
Here are the three top oil stocks of 2016...
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Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 3: Ultra Petroleum Corp.
Ultra Petroleum Corp. (OTCMKTS: UPLMQ) is the third best oil stock of 2016.
Ultra Petroleum is a Houston-based oil company focusing on oil and gas exploration and production. Its properties range throughout the United States, from natural gas fields in Wyoming's Green River Basin to Central Pennsylvania's section of Appalachian Basin to natural gas fields in Utah.
UPLMQ has a market cap of $1.02 billion, making it the smallest company on our list. But Ultra grew by 234% in 2016, one of the biggest gains on our list.
Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 2: Paramount Resources Ltd.
Our second best stock of 2016 was Paramount Resources Ltd. (TSE: POU). Paramount Resources is a $1.69 billion independent energy company located in Canada and traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
POU explores, develops, produces, and markets Canadian crude oil, natural gas, and liquefied natural gas.
POU shares soared 246% in 2016 to make it the second-highest-gaining stock on the list. POU currently trades at $16.45.
The Top Oil Stocks of 2016 No. 1: Clayton Williams Energy Inc.
Clayton Williams Energy Inc. (NYSE: CWEI) was the top oil stock of 2016.
CWEI is a Midland, Texas-based independent oil and gas company. It's currently worth $1.87 billion. CWEI explores fields and develops and produces both oil and natural gas, with locations in the Permian Basin of Western Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. It also does some work in the Giddings Area of East Central Texas.
CWEI stock had a spectacular 2016, growing 364% over the year. CWEI currently trades at $108.76.
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