By Joanna Ossinger
The U.S. energy industry features the second-worst performing group of stocks in the S&P 500 this year, up 5.3% compared with an advance of 19% for the broader gauge. That’s despite love from Wall Street analysts, attention from some Asian investors, and votes of confidence from the likes of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
JPMorgan’s Dubvrako Lakos-Bujas, who wrote the note on Sept. 26, renewed an April call to buy shares of energy explorers and producers.
“Investor complacency toward energy is perplexing,” Lakos-Bujas said. “The market should assign a structural premium to the equity-oil complex with the Middle East currently a geopolitical tinderbox.”
Positioning, sentiment and valuations are at bearish extremes for the sector right now, JPMorgan said. Systematic funds are underweight oil and institutional investors “have abandoned” it, the report said. That’s despite the fact that insider purchases are at cycle highs, buyback announcements have been strong and dividends remain high.
“Favorable technicals, improving fundamentals with stabilizing business cycle, and ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East could help redirect flows into this universally hated and cheap sector,” Lakos-Bujas said.