The slide in oil prices paves a way for investors to scoop up shares of energy stocks at a discount, but the bigger opportunities lie in refineries. Crude prices fell almost 17 percent over the past month. The selloff was part of a broader exodus out of commodities, hence gold’s 6.3 percent drop during the same time. As the Federal Reserve prepares for its first rate hike since 2006, investors are shying away from commodities, which have no yield, in favor of alternative assets, like stocks. Over the past month, energy stocks in the S&P 500, which include names like Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP), fell 4.7 percent over the past month. ‘What’s always good for energy stocks is when crude prices are rising on a year-over-year basis and obviously that’s not happening,’ said Mary Ann Bartels, chief investment officer of portfolio solutions at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. ‘We like energy stocks from a valuation standpoint. We think the stocks are very inexpensive.’ But she stresses patience, saying it’s going to take some time for these stocks to beat the market, given the slide in crude prices. ‘The pocket of energy that is working are the refining stocks, those stocks are going up.’ Refineries like Valero Energy (VLO) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC) both rose 10.4 percent over the past month. TheStreet’s Scott Gamm reports from New York.
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