We’ve completed our quarterly update to the ratings and comments in our International Coverage Universe. Key takeaways from this exercise include ongoing cost-cutting, deleveraging and consolidation in Canada. Meanwhile, natural-gas prices in Australia have soared, as the upsurge in exports has limited the supply available to the domestic market.
Against this backdrop, the names in our International Portfolio reported solid second-quarter results and affirmed or increased their guidance. All these stocks benefited from the US dollar’s weakness this summer.
The latter tailwind has made it a good year for our International Portfolio, with the conservative sleeve delivering an average total return of 12.6 percent and the aggressive sleeve up 0.5 percent. Over this period, the S&P 500 Energy Index gave up 8.8 percent of its value.
But solid fundamentals also contributed to these returns; all our conservative holdings increased their dividends at least once this year.
Massive distribution cuts from the likes of Plains All-American Pipeline LP have severely damaged midstream master limited partnerships' (MLP) reputation among income investors. But our favorite MLPs trade at favorable valuations and offer exposure to compelling volumetric growth stories.
The divergent performance between Noble Midstream Partners LP and Hess Midstream Partners LP since their initial public offerings demonstrates what investors value in an environment where energy prices remain lower for longer.
Break-even rates continue to fall across the board in US shale plays, but the efficiency gains that come from exploiting multiple oil-bearing formations with the same infrastructure give the Permian Basin an edge in the battle for market share.
Over the past 12 months, the difference between the top and bottom performers in the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index amounted to about 60 percentage points. Capturing this upside requires on-the-ground intelligence, which is why we attend the MLPA Association's annual investor conference every year.
Expansions to the Gulf Coast refinery complex will translate into higher ethane demand in the US, creating opportunities for short-term trades and longer-term wealth building.
News flow related to our Focus List picks has been limited in recent weeks, though third-quarter earnings season is just around the corner.
We break down some of the major themes and opportunities in Canada and Australia's energy patches, including consolidation in the oil sands, ongoing takeaway constraints in Alberta and restrictions on LNG exports.
The recent rally in upstream oil and gas stocks has bolstered our Focus List.
We highlight two energy companies that offer exposure to secular growth stories outside the oil and gas market.
The challenging energy market has taken its toll on our Focus List, with our poorly timed picks from the upstream segment and oil-field services absorbing the hardest hits. Our lesson from these missteps: We need to remain disciplined and adhere to our own advice about trading these cyclical industries more adeptly, buying when oversold and paring exposure when valuations and sentiment reach the top of their range. These tactical errors are inexcusable and particularly grating when our skepticism toward oil prices at the outset of the year was spot-on.
Elliott and Roger on Sep. 26, 2017
Balanced portfolios of energy stocks for aggressive and conservative investors.
Our take on more than 50 energy-related equities, from upstream to downstream and everything in between.
Our assessment of every energy-related master limited partnership.
Roger Conrad’s coverage of more than 70 dividend-paying energy names.