Does it still make sense to invest in an oil major? Energy companies have seen their influence on stock markets wane in recent years. In 2012, the S&P 500 value index in the US and the corresponding benchmark index for energy companies showed perfect correlation: now oil and gas companies are performing at half the level of the general market. And on the LSE, BP (BP:L), and Shell (RDSA:L), are not doing much better. (Read more)
BP closes the year with news of one of the biggest deals in the energy sector this year. The British oil companyhas signed a deal which has has made it a shareholder in Abu Dhabi's onshore oil concession, in exchange for which the emirate's oil company gainsownership of a 2% stake in BP. BP obtains, in this way a 10% stake in ADCO, the state-owned Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Limited,the outfit which operates these oil fields. The oil fieldthought to be part of one of the largest oil field concessions in the emirate, and one of the last few big oil concessions available in the Middle East. The total deal is estimated to be worth a total of £1.8 billion ($ 2.2 billion). (Read more)
Glencore is the leader of a consortium that, together with Qatar's global sovereign fund, Qia, bought a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, the Russian oil company. Rosneft is one of the leading Russian blue chip companies, and the flotation is part of a process to partially privatise the oil company, in a bid to reduce the debt level of the Russian state, hit by the twin storms of falling oil prices amid economic sanctions imposed following events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. News of the deal, worth 10.5 million Euros, was welcomed by investors, and sent the Russian stock price shooting up by over 5% on the Moscow stock exchange. (Read more)
Gold fever is declining. Other raw materials such as industrial metals however, are rallying, suggesting that the long downward cycle that has hit the industry is coming to an end. Goldman Sachs is convinced of this: for the first time in four years, it is urging investors to put their money into commodities. Just look at miners' reversals in performance: AngloAmerican has quietly abandoned its asset disposal plan which was announced only this February, showing that the goal of reducing debt is already on the way to being achieved. In the last months, raw material prices have strengthened, often with double-digit if not triple-digit rises. In the US, following Donald Trump's election to the White House, stocks belonging to the natural resources sectors were the ones who saw the biggest increase amid the post-election rally, with an 11% rise for the Eurostoxx sub-index against 8.3% for the Dow Jones. Since the January lows, Anglo and the other four big mining titles (BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vale and Glencore) have more than doubled their market capitalisation. Also Glencore has stated they will restart dividend payments in 2017. In fact, Anglo and Glencore may soon regain their status as income stocks. But investors looking for a reliable, rising dividend income will remember how easily these payouts were cut. Back in January, it was been a surprise gold rally whichbrought the attention ofinvestors to commodities. But the precious metal, after a brief rally that immediately followed Trump's shock election victory seems to have fallen out of favor. With the Federal Reserve now ready to raise the cost of money, the dollar reaching its highest level in 13 years, and Wall Street churning out new records every week, bullion has lost its appeal among investors.Gold ETFs - which had grown to record-breaking pace in early 2016, are falling without interruption. If gold is losing its shine, its rise during the year to date is still 12%. But the less noble metals are shining brighter: almost all non-ferrous are up by over 20% in 2016, with zinc, nickel, aluminum and tin rising to multi-year highs on the London Metal Exchange. Even copper eventually joined the rally, overtaking the 6 thousand dollars per ton. Even more spectacular is the performance of other industrial commodities, especially those used in the steel industry, such as coke coal, which appreciated by over 300% this year, and iron ore, which has gained more than 60%, reaching the highest since two years. (Read more)
It is hard to find companies able to reap a profit in the current economic climate, however Premier oil (PMO:LN) is an exception. The British oil company, which has a recently reported a (Read more)
It has been called the biggest merger in history for two oil companies, at least since ExxonMobil (XOM) took over XTO energy over 5 years ago to create the energy behemoth it is today. Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDS.A) proposed acquisition of gas company BG group (BRGYY), announced on 7 April 2015, is still navigating the regulatory systems of half the globe, getting green lights from the national regulators wherever it goes. Yet, despite all the fanfare, investors haven’t reacted particularly happily to the deal. In fact, Shell has lost a quarter of its value since plans for the merger were first made public, with shares slumping from a high of 2,094p in April on the day of the announcement of the deal to a low of 1,418p on 14th December. See chart.