If April is supposed to be the cruelest month, don’t tell the energy sector.
S&P 500 energy stocks are up 6.5 percent over the past month. That is more than double the performance of the next best-performing sector, health care. In fact, energy stocks have risen by more in April than the S&P 500 has risen all year.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses for energy names. The sector is still down sharply over the past year, due to crude oil’s plunge. But as crude oil prices rise 22 percent off the lows set in mid-March, energy stocks have spotted daylight. And if the oil bounce continues, the energy comeback can be expected to continue alongside it.
“If the price continues to appreciate during the summer months, which is what we seasonally expect, we could certainly see higher prices for energy stocks,” said Erin Gibbs, equity chief investment officer with S&P Capital IQ.
Little upside is expected to be found in the coming earnings numbers. But Gibbs would advise looking past that.
“There may be some near-term volatility as [we] face Q1 earnings season. Right now, Q1 earning growth is at negative 64 percent. It’s going to be abysmal as they report. But what I think what investors might start looking forward to, what I see in the uptrend, is really looking out into 2016, seeing these oil prices stability, seeing potential for 40 percent more growth going into 2016 and potentially pushing those prices up,” she said.
On the technical side, Todd Gordon of TradingAnalysis.com said “a lot has to be proved in order for us to see a meaningful reversal.”
But on the positive side, he said, “there’s so much negative news cooked in, that if there are no more natural sellers, the only thing left to do is for short to cover or new longs to come in, which leads the fundamental turn.”
Indeed, John Stolzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer, wrote in a Monday note that the sudden surge in industrial and energy stocks, “may signal a rotation within the sectors of the large-cap benchmark.”
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