There has not been much to like about energy stocks and exchange traded funds in recent months. At least not from the long side.
However, the type of panic selling that has washed over the energy sector, the seventh-largest sector weight in the S&P 500, can often give way to opportunity for prescient investors. While it may same hard to find good news about oil stocks at the moment (it is indeed difficult), there is some food for thought. First, the energy sector’s P/E ratio of 14.4 is lower than any sector except for telecom and lower than the 15.8 P/E on the S&P 500.
Second, lower oil prices can benefit refiners and that could mean the PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXE) could be a leader when the energy sector rebounds. [An Excellent Energy ETF]
Lower oil prices reduce input costs for refiners, which can lead to higher margins. No traditional equity-based energy ETF has been anything to write home about over the past few months, but part of the reason the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) has been less bad than those ETFs dedicated to exploration and production or oil services firms is because XLE allocates over 30% of its combined weight to Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), two of the largest refiners in the U.S. [A Bold Call on a Big Energy ETF]
Although PXE is off 27.6% over the past 90 days, that performance is better than scores of rival energy ETFs, indicating that there could be value in ETFs heavy on refiners going forward. That is where PXE’s potential shines because the fund is one of a small number that can be legitimately considered a refiners heavy ETF.