ETF Trends
ETF Trends

While energy exchange traded fund investors are wary of ongoing weakness in a low oil environment, some large oil majors may help stem an exodus from the sector, enticing investors with dividends.

Goldman Sachs analyst Neil Mehta pointed out companies like ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU) may still provide sustainable dividends, reports Amey Stone for Barron’s.

“These two companies are set to deliver the highest dividend growth through the end of the decade – and now offer solid valuation upside from current levels,” Mehta said.

Nevertheless, Mehta is less enthusiastic about Cenovus Energy (NYSE: CVE) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), pointing to potentially lower dividend growth outlook.

If the oil majors maintain their dividend schedule, broad large-cap energy ETFs, such as the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), may provide a good value play. XLE includes many large integrated energy companies, including 16.2% XOM and 12.7% CVX. XLE also comes with a decent 2.65% 12-month yield. [Believe It: Energy ETFs Have Dividend Allure]

The larger integrated oil companies are more flush and have a larger war chest to draw upon when times get tough. While big oil has cut stock repurchase plans to save cash, many bigger players have not gone so far as to cut back on dividends. For instance, Exxon and Chevron have historically exhibited a long standing of steadily increasing dividends and remain so-called dividend aristocrats. [Oil ETF Dividends Appear Safe…Sort Of]

Exxon’s dividend increase helped it remain in the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL) and the PowerShares Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PFM), dividend ETFs that require payout increase streaks of 25 and 10 years, respectively. [Exxon Keeps its Place in Dividend ETFs]

The energy stocks have been among the worst performing areas of the market after the plunge in oil prices. XLE has dipped 8.5% year-to-date.

However, after the selling pressure, energy ETFs are among the cheapest investment options on the market, according to Morningstar. Many ETF investors may be familiar with some of the cheapest energy-related ETFs, including XLE, Market Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH), Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSEArca: VDE), iShares U.S. Energy ETF (NYSEArca: IYE) and First Trust Energy AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXN).

Goldman Sachs projects that Brent crude oil could stay within the $57 to $65 per barrel range for the next three years. Brent crude was hovering around $56 per barrel.

For more information on the energy sector, visit our energy category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.