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As the price of crude oil plummeted by more than $100 a barrel since reaching a peak of almost $150 last July, it's paid dividends to be invested in the strongest energy companies. Even if some of the best don't actually pay dividends.
No dividend payouts mean no guaranteed income. The upside, however, is a stock that surges when oil rises. Larger companies such as Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) offer attractive dividend yields, but they're also burdened by heavy debt.Only 35 of 391, or 9%, of energy stocks covered by TheStreet.com Ratings earn "buy" recommendations. Seacor Holdings (CKH) and Arena Resources (ARD) are among them. Fort Lauderdale-based Seacor Holdings is a major player in the oil and gas equipment and services market. The company's principle business is providing support services for offshore oil and gas exploration. This is an extremely profitable niche, particularly during oil rallies. TheStreet.com Ratings upgraded the stock to "buy" on May 15. Seacor's first-quarter revenue rose 12.7% to $400 million, and earnings per share jumped 57% to $2.36. Its cash balance declined 19% to $452 million. Still, Seacor made efforts to pay down debt, cutting its long-term obligations by 2% to $930 million. Shares of Seacor have enjoyed a 12% increase this year, beating the S&P 500 Index's 1% gain and the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 4% decline. But the stock is still cheap based on earnings, sales, book value and cash flow in the oil and gas equipment and services industry. With a price-to-earnings ratio of 7.25, Seacor is 26% cheaper than its average peer.
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