Sat, 01/01/2011 - 10:36 by Roger Friedman
With exploding wells, shifting regulations, and uncertainty for investors, some players in the oil, gas, and consumable fuels field are teetering on the verge of collapse, while others are poised to profit. It's among the most-watched industries among those who have created a watchlist with the Fool, and today we're able to single out the one energy player that is garnering the most attention.
People watch stocks for different reasons -- they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service now three months old, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.
And the most-watched company in this volatile industry is...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is the leader in terms of watch interest, the percentage of people keeping an eye on the oil and gas industry in general who are specifically watching each company. Though this industry is more fragmented than most, with 359 individual companies showing up on at least one investor's watchlist, ExxonMobil boasted a 9.1% watch interest -- and for good reason. As Fool analyst Dan Caplinger recently wrote, it appears that ExxonMobil and its peers could have interesting and profitable times ahead.
"Once a company gets as big as ExxonMobil, it's unusual to see fast growth -- the amounts of money involved are simply too great," he wrote. "ExxonMobil will never be able to match the consistent quick growth rates of smaller energy-related companies like ATP Oil & Gas orNational Oilwell Varco, if only because of the law of large numbers."
But he added that because all players in the field are sensitive to oil and gas prices, we can expect big swings in sales figures from year to year. And with the market's infatuation with dividend investing, ExxonMobil is an obvious option for those seeking healthy payouts. "Even here, though, you'll feel the effect of the company's gargantuan size; competitors Chevron(NYSE: CVX) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) both have higher dividend yields and have grown their payouts at a faster pace in the past five years," Dan also wrote.
Here are the rest of the top five most-watched companies in the industry with their watch interest along with the stocks' CAPS rating (out of five possible stars) to show the sentiment of our free investing community.
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
BP (NYSE: BP)
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK)
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