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‘Kind of absurd’ valuations: Fund manager says buy the dip in these stocks


Fund manager Rajiv Jain has joined a chorus of Wall Street voices making a case for buying the dip in energy stocks, as oil prices suffer a pullback. As recession fears hit the demand outlook for commodities, oil snapped six consecutive months of gains in June. Crude prices were volatile last week. While they dropped below $100, and subsequently jumped to pare some losses, they were still more than 10% off a June high. The S & P 500 Energy index has plummeted around 17% since the end of May. It marks a change in fortunes for the commodity, which started a broad move higher last year and spiked following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. “I mean, some of these valuations are frankly kind of absurd,” Jain, chairman and chief investment officer at GQG Partners, said of energy stock prices at the moment. His firm’s fund has increased its holdings in energy, which as of the end of May stood at 23.3% up from just 1.73% in March last year. Jain said he likes U.S. oil firm Exxon Mobil , Brazil’s Petrobras , and Swiss firm Glencore in particular. “If you assume $90 oil, the stocks are trading under 10 times earnings,” Jain told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday. As crude prices drop, commodity companies which operate in the downstream segment – as the above three firms do – may benefit, as they can purchase crude oil at lower prices, and then sell the refined products at a premium. Read more Asset manager names his top stocks trading at a ‘sizable discount’ right now Chip stocks are in trouble. But analysts are giving some serious upside — naming one with over 70% Citi names its ‘highest conviction ideas’ for the second half of 2022 — and gives one upside of 85% An additional sweetener for investors is that Petrobras is offering a dividend yield of over 30%, Jain pointed out. In comparison, Exxon has a dividend yield of around 4%, and Glencore offers 5%. The energy sector under the S & P 500 index has an average yield of around 3.29%, according to Factset data, while the overall index has an average of 1.57%. All three stocks have dropped significantly from a month ago, although they are still up for the year. Exxon is down around 14%, Glencore has tumbled over 10%, and Petrobras has dropped around 7% over the last month. “These companies are extremely well positioned,” said Jain, who highlighted that Exxon had recently announced that it would be making close to $5.5 billion of excess net profit from its refining business. Asset manager Jack Ablin of Cresset Capital was also bullish on Exxon, as well as Chevron — calling them “quality and dividend growers.” He told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday that the stocks still look cheap relative to their peers. Morgan Stanley names stocks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have also in recent weeks been telling investors that the drop in oil is a buying opportunity. Morgan Stanley said in a July 1 note to clients that it’s time to buy energy stocks. “Energy stocks offer the most attractive risk/reward opportunity within equities … especially after the recent sharp correction,” Dubravko Lakos, chief U.S. equity strategist and global head of quantitative research, said. The firm has overweight ratings on shares of Exxon and Marathon Oil , among others. — CNBC’s Pippa Stevens, Zavier Ong contributed to this report.

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