A few weeks back I wrote an article about BP being shareholder friendly and advised buying the stock which at that time was trading around $56/share. After the black swan disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the stock is now around $50/share and what's shareholder friendly about that? It's a sad day for BP shareholders, a sad day for Louisiana (and potentially Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida), a sad day for seafood aficionados, and a sad day for U.S. energy policy.
Speaking of sad, how sad is it that Warren Buffett has now moved over to the dark side? Who would have thought that Buffett, a supposed champion of the average American and a man of integrity, is now supporting Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and its CEO Lloyd Blankfein? Here is a company that took billions of middle class taxpayer money after dealing in "financial weapons of mass destruction" and now Buffett is supporting them publicly on CNBC? Buffett has been saying that Goldman Sachs has done nothing fraudulent. Who is Buffett to pass judgment on a pending government investigation and how does he know if Goldman did or did not do anything fraudulent?
A while back I wrote that Buffett bought Conoco Philips (NYSE:COP) too high and sold it too low and that I was glad he sold a big hunk because it would allow COP to work higher. And higher it has, pushing $60 this morning. All the oil companies are back to printing money again with oil over $85/barrel. I like COP. I like CVX as their recent earnings were excellent and they had a nice dividend hike again. I really like STO whose once a year generous dividend will be coming up very soon (buy it before the ex-div date). And I still like Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) even though their stingy dividend increase ($0.04/share - are you serious?) keeps XOM with the worst yield in the peer group.
On the U.S. energy policy front, things are a still a mess. Despite the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history (the coal fly-ash spill into the Tennessee River system at Kingston, TN) and the recent loss of life in the coal mine disaster, the Obama administration and Energy Secretary Chu are still supporting the myth of "clean coal". Of course, the recent oil spill in the GOM will probably eclipse the fly-ash spill and win the award for worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. This is terrible not just for the environment, but also for BP shareholders like myself. We can only hope the oil release is plugged or otherwise mitigated soon. Job #1 is obviously to stop the leak. If the inverted funnel idea doesn't work, it will likely take months to drill another hole, intersect the existing hole, and pump down cement to plug the hole. Even that job is not fool-proof.
I continue to say the only way the U.S. can solve the economic, environmental, and national security risks as a result of its addiction to coal and imported oil is to adopt a strategic, comprehensive, and long-term energy policy which has at its cornerstone an emphasis on natural gas transportation.
So, despite these problems with the two dirtiest and costliest fossil fuels (coal and oil), there is STILL apparently no progress on pending legislation to transition to the more cleaner, abundant, and cheaper fuel: natural gas. Why on Earth Obama and Chu prefer coal and oil over natural gas simply baffles me. Of course the other question is why are Obama's "environmental" supporters letting him get away with it. It reminds me of so-called "republicans" letting Bush get away with deficit spending and government bailouts for Goldman Sachs and AIG. It's economic and political doublespeak of epic proportions.
Despite the environmental disaster in the GOM, as long as American investors (and commuters...) rely solely on gasoline for transport, the oil stocks and oil service stocks must be owned and should make up a majority of the portfolio. Buy COP, SLB, CVX, OXY, PBR, and XOM. Oh, and buy your shrimp now. I just bought 20 lbs of Texas large shrimp for $4.99/lb. That won't last long.
Disclosure: Long BP, COP, PBR