NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I was talking to Jim Cramer today about the refiners, which have seemed to catch a bid in the last week and a half after having a miserable quarter.
Several factors seem to be turning in the refiners favor, and there may be an opportunity to buy them after they report later this month.
First, there is a rumor the Environmental Protection Agency will drop the volume requirements for ethanol blending into gasoline below the blend wall for 2014 -- a boon for the refiners if it is true. President Obama wants to take the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) away as a political issue through the midterm elections of 2014 and dropping the required ethanol volume that refiners must use from 15 billion gallons to nearly 12 billion gallons for 2014 will help do that.
Equally important, there's been a widening of the Brent/West Texas Intermediate spread, which can be seen as a proxy for the margins and therefore the profits of the refiners. While the positive help of this spread won't be felt until at least the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, the prospect of this return to solid margins has helped fuel the refiners recently.But there's been clear indication that most of the refiners have endured a very bad third quarter and their results, due to come out at the end of this month and through the first week of November, are likely to be miserable. There, I think, is the opportunity. A bad quarterly report will help to depress shares of refiners including Valero (VLO), Western Refining (WNR), CVR Energy (CVI), Phillips (PSX) and others. But buying these depressed shares will yield great returns as the positives of the wider refining margins and lowered RFS mandates are felt through the rest of 2013 and into 2014. I talk more about the coming refining opportunity with Jim in the video above. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @dan_dicker This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.