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5 Stocks Endowment Funds Are Buying in 2012

Exxon Mobil

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The biggest position increase for last quarter came from oil giant Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) -- endowments saw the market value of their Exxon holdings increase by $93.13 million last quarter.

A big part of that performance came from oil prices in the last quarter: with crude prices sitting in the triple-digits for a sustained period, those elevated prices are having a direct effect on Exxon's profitability. That's helped to spur a 20% rally in shares over the last six months.

As an integrated supermajor, Exxon has its hands in everything from pumping oil and gas out of the ground to transporting, refining, and retailing gasoline on the other end of the process. By having a hand in every step in the process, Exxon generates bigger profits than it otherwise would -- and while margins for integrated firms are lower than you'd see at pure E&P names, margins for each step of the process are actually higher than they'd be at an independent firm.

Exxon has been making big bets on natural gas in the past few years, absorbing XTO Energy to dramatically increase the gas mix in Exxon's production. While that has been a headwind in the last couple of years as natgas prices struggle to hold their ground, it could become a massive tailwind as consumers look to substitute costly oil with a cheaper energy alternative.

Exxon is a huge company, but investors shouldn't count out growth because of size alone.

I also featured Exxon, one of 9 Gold, Oil Stocks That Rise on Bad News, recently in " 5 Stocks Primed for Bigger Dividends."

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