Positioning for a ‘bullish shock’ to oil markets? Here are one strategist’s top stocks to cash in

Oil and gas stocks are expected to get a boost after Russia cut off gas to Europe, and one strategist says there’s “absolutely opportunities” in the sector right now. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom on Friday announced an indefinite halt in gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, citing the need for repairs. It came hours after the Group of Seven economic powers agreed on a plan to impose a price cap on Russian oil in an attempt to curb Moscow’s oil revenues. “Whether or not it’s oil, its natural gas, its coal, which has once again just been performing beautifully this year, and I think will continue to perform beautifully in light of especially what we heard yesterday,” Kenny Polcari, chief market strategist at SlateStone Wealth, said Tuesday, referring to the pipeline shutdown. ‘Bullish shock’ It comes after Goldman warned in a note Friday that one key risk of imposing a price cap on Russian oil was the “potential for Russian retaliation.” “[It] would turn this into an additional bullish shock for the oil market,” Goldman analysts wrote. “Consistent with actions taken in the natural gas market, Russia could opt to retaliate, cutting G-7 buyers off and shutting in production, thereby elevating global prices and its own revenues even assuming higher logistical costs to non-participating countries.” Oil and gas prices soared after the news, with European gas prices rocketing as much as 30% on Monday . Prices pared some gains Tuesday, although the front-month gas price on the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark for natural gas trading, still traded around 221 megawatt hour — up from around 214 megawatt hour on Friday. Crude prices saw fewer gains, but Brent and WTI futures were still up over 2% Tuesday compared to last Friday. Consider Big Energy stocks with dividends Polcari stressed that investors should not “absolutely not” invest haphazardly, however, given the volatility. He advised investors to zoom in on big U.S. energy names, which are also good dividend payers. “Look at big dividend-paying names, right, ones that will offer some stability but also opportunity for upside and energy for sure,” Polcari said. He listed two such stocks: ExxonMobil and Chevron . ExxonMobil offers a 5-year average dividend yield of 5.5%, while Chevron’s average is 4.4%, according to FactSet data. Polcari said he would go long on natural gas and coal, naming U.S. exploration and production firm Chesapeake Energy as one way to cash in – its production mix is weighted towards natural gas, according to the firm. He also picked another natural gas producer — Comstock Resources — which is up a whopping 125% this year and he says has “still got room to go.” “I don’t think it’s over by any stretch. We’re just coming into winter in the Northern Hemisphere. You see what’s going on in Europe,” he said. Polcari also named U.S. coal mining firm Peabody Energy as a favorite, and for investors who would like to play energy via funds instead of stocks, he named the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund. — CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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