To bet on a revival of prices, try an energy fund. A sound choice is Guinness Atkinson Global Energy. During the past five years, the fund returned 0.7% annually, outperforming 86% of competitors. Guinness has 38% of its assets in integrated oil companies, including Chevron (CVX - Get Report). The oil giant has a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.4, a modest figure at a time when the S&P trades at 14.
Portfolio manager Will Riley is particularly keen on North American exploration and production companies that focus on gas. Holdings include Newfield Exploration (NFX). While the company should benefit from rising gas prices, its shares sell for a P/E ratio of only 7.3.
Another solid fund is Ivy Energy (IEYAX), which returned 0.3% annually during the past five years and outdid 81% of peers. Portfolio manager David Ginther owns Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report), but he is underweight the big integrated oil companies.
He figures that he can find faster growth in companies that provide equipment and supplies to drillers. One holding is National Oilwell Varco (NOV), which supplies equipment used on offshore rigs. "Over the next three to five years, we are going to have to build a lot of deep-water rigs to keep up with demand," he says.A large value fund with a big stake in energy is Payden Value Leaders (PYVLX). The fund has broken even over the last five years, outdoing 66% of competitors. Payden favors stocks with hefty dividends, and the fund yields a rich 5%. The portfolio has 15% of assets in master limited partnerships, including companies that own pipelines. The MLPs charge energy companies to transport oil and gas. Their fees rise along with increases in the volume of products passing through the pipeline. Portfolio manager James Wong figures that revenues will increase as demand for energy grows. "The cash flows should continue to be quite strong," he says. One holding is Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP), which operates a pipeline that brings oil from Western Canada to the U.S. The shares yield 7.5%. Huntington Dividend Capture has 15% of its assets in energy. During the past five years, the fund returned 1.5% annually, outperforming 86% of peers in the large value category. The portfolio managers are particularly keen on equipment providers. A holding is Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), which makes equipment that is used to ship liquefied natural gas. The companies are beginning to build facilities that will transport U.S. gas overseas. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.