The most recent issue of Energy & Income Advisor, Dusting off the Crystal Ball, laid out our outlook for the stock market, the US economy and the prices of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) over the coming year. These views shape our strategy for investing in master limited partnerships (MLP) in the near term and for the long haul.
Any improvement in oil prices hinges on a decline in overall production, a chunk of which will come from shale plays in the US onshore market. We revisit our MLP Portfolio holdings with exposure to this risk and highlight name on our watch list as we look to high-grade the Portfolio.
Meanwhile, some of our favorite MLPs stand to benefit from low-cost basins winning market share and increasing visibility on long-term demand growth.
Our near-term outlook for crude-oil and natural-gas prices hasn't changed, though investors should consider taking profits on demand-oriented names that tend to thrive when oil prices dive.
The severe downdraft in the prices of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids has pressured producers’ cash flow and outpaced reductions to service costs and capital expenditures. Accordingly, the cash flow shortfalls that predominated in the salad years have continued in the lean years, setting the stage for further spending cuts in 2016.
Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission indicates that hedge funds and other institutional investors have shorted the equivalent of 160 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate via futures contracts.
The US-oil-directed rig count ticked up last week, but investors shouldn't overlook the reduction in international drilling activity.
Too many pundits talk about a potential recovery in oil prices without considering the drivers and implications.
The utility sector's implosion in 2002 and 2003 has some important lessons for MLP investors.
The financial infotainment industry has hyped the diplomatic tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical risk that will support crude-oil prices. There's a reason Monday's pop in crude-oil prices was so short-lived: this narrative just isn't true.
The financial media tends to exaggerate the influence of geopolitical developments on oil prices, especially to explain daily moves in these commodities. But today's market hold more in common with the 1990s, when the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil actually declined at the height of the Gulf War.
The financial infotainment industry doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially when it comes to the oil market and its complexities. Recent articles hinting that Saudi Arabia and OPEC could reduce oil output to support pricing may attract eyeballs, but they represent shoddy journalism. Elevated inventories and the impending refinery turnaround season suggest that oil prices will suffer another leg down.
Elliott and Roger on Feb. 23, 2016
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