Energy-Focused Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Require Risk Management

Robert Boslego - INO.com Contributor - Energies


Energy-focused master limited partnerships (MLPs) have provided investors good returns over time, much better than owning crude oil futures. For example, from January 200 through July 2016, the Alerian Total Return Index (PACF:AMZX), a leading gauge of energy MLPs, provided a return of 867%, far exceeded the return from crude futures of about 63%.

However, there is reasonably strong correlation between AMZX and crude futures prices. As a result, AMZX has suffered some large drawdowns. It maximum drop from peak-to-valley (P2V) was 58% over the period mentioned above. I use P2V as my primary risk measurement because it shows how large a loss one may experience in a buy-and-hold strategy.

I tested hedging AMZX by maintaining a short position in crude futures. The risk-minimizing hedge ratio for crude futures was -17% but it only reduced the maximum P2V to 50% (see Hedged return in graph below).

Chart of AMZX, Crude Futures and Hedged

I therefore applied the risk management process I developed to determine when to be invested in AMZX and when to go to cash. I provide the citations for the mathematical formulae and back-tested results for anyone interested in utilizing this process below. Continue reading "Energy-Focused Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Require Risk Management"

2016 Outlook For MLPs And Pipelines

Adam Feik - INO.com Contributor - Energies


I suppose my 2016 outlook for MLPs and pipelines should begin with a mea culpa about something I wrote earlier in 2015. On September 24th, I wrote:

“I generally regard pipelines as being a historically defensive area of the stock market, comprised of relatively steady, fee-for-service businesses. (Pipeline companies’ stocks) may be receiving undue punishment in the midst of the oil crash of the past 15 months. (Their) prices are down about 16% since June 20, 2014, compared to nearly a 38% decline for the overall energy sector, and a 63% crash in oil prices.”

The First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure ETF (EMLP) closed at $22.17 that day; and while EMLP did rise to nearly $24 over the next couple weeks, it then plateaued in October and plunged below $20 again by December 4th. It closed Tuesday at $20.15.

I regret having used adjectives like “defensive” or “steady” to describe these stocks. The past 7 or 8 months have certainly demonstrated otherwise!

The jury is still out on whether these stocks are “receiving undue punishment,” though. Perhaps 2016 will provide the verdict on that. Continue reading "2016 Outlook For MLPs And Pipelines"

Opportunities In Pipelines

Adam Feik - INO.com Contributor - Energies


I wrote a few weeks ago about investing in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and pipeline companies, and some of the nuances involved. Starting with the fact that there ARE some major differences between MLP funds and pipeline funds, so investors need to know what they're getting.

As I stated in that article, I believe the US oil & gas boom means pipelines and energy infrastructure are going to remain in high demand for the foreseeable future – despite Hillary Clinton's Tuesday announcement of her opposition to Keystone XL. Plus, I generally regard pipelines as being a historically defensive area of the stock market, comprised of relatively steady, fee-for-service businesses. Hence, today I present a continuing analysis of a couple ways to play the midstream energy industry – whose stocks may be receiving undue punishment in the midst of the oil crash of the past 15 months.

To be clear, the midstream industry's haircut to date, while noteworthy, has not nearly so bad as the carnage in oil or the rest of the energy sector. As the graph below shows, pipeline stock prices are down about 16% since June 20, 2014, compared to nearly a 38% decline for the overall energy sector, and a 63% crash in oil prices.

EMLP vs. XLE vs. DBO

Graph from Yahoo! Finance. EMLP is First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund, shown here as a proxy for pipeline stocks. XLE is the Energy Select Sector SPDR, shown here as a proxy for energy sector stocks. DBO is the PowerShares DB Oil ETF, shown here as a proxy for oil prices.

Actually, ALL the of pipeline stocks' decline in the last 15 months has come since roughly May 5th this year (shown on the graph above with a dotted vertical line), which is the date oil prices bumped up against its most recent top and began melting down again. Pipeline stock prices had been flat throughout oil's collapse for the prior 10+ months; but since that May 5th peak, pipelines (as measured by EMLP) are down 18.75%, the broad energy sector (XLE) is down 23%, and oil is down 24%. See graph below. Continue reading "Opportunities In Pipelines"

Playing The Oil & Gas Pipeline Opportunity In America

Adam Feik - INO.com Contributor - Energies


One thing the energy production boom means – besides the wild, now-14-month-long crash in oil and gas prices – is that pipelines and energy infrastructure are going to remain in high demand. As American oil & gas companies continue producing – as they've shown they can & will do –, those producers will have to continue using the services of the pipeline, transportation, and storage facility owners.

The term "MLP" can mean many things

Many investors equate "pipelines" and "energy infrastructure" with Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) like Enterprise Product Partners (EPD), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Williams Partners LP (WPZ), Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP), Magellan Midstream Partners LP (MMP), etc.

Yet not all MLPs are pure pipeline plays, nor are all pipeline companies are structured as MLPs!

First, many MLPs aren't "midstream" energy companies at all, but rather, are involved in "upstream" activities like exploration and production (e&p). As a result, these "upstream" MLPs' distributions depend on production – which, in turn, is highly affected by oil & gas prices. Continue reading "Playing The Oil & Gas Pipeline Opportunity In America"

Rising Rates Are Coming -- Here's How To Prepare

If you racked up big gains in the stock market last year, you have Ben Bernanke and his cohorts at the Federal Reserve to thank.

The SP 500's 29.6% gain in 2013 (32.4% when dividends are included), which was the best year since 1997, was largely based on comments made by the Fed in December 2012.

Back then, the economy was so weak that the Fed committed to keep the federal funds rate at historic lows in place until at least the middle of 2015, even later than many economists had assumed. Against such a favorable interest rate backdrop, stocks faced little resistance.

Indeed, throughout 2013, the likelihood of an imminent increase in the federal funds rate remained off the table. And three Fed governors even suggested in December that interest rates would remain untouched into 2016.

But in the early months of 2014, the Fed playbook is starting to look different. The recently released minutes from the past Fed meeting in late January show that some Fed governors are getting anxious. As The Wall Street Journal noted recently, Fed governors have begun discussing "the possibility of rate hikes in the near future." Continue reading "Rising Rates Are Coming -- Here's How To Prepare"

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30445203