NEW YORK ( Karvy Global) -- Halliburton ( HAL) and Schlumberger ( SLB) are among the energy stocks that have the best ratings from Wall Street analysts.

Continued increases in crude oil and natural gas prices may help energy stocks to outperform broader markets during December. In November, the energy index jumped 5.1% while the S&P 500 Index declined 0.2%.

The following 10 energy stocks could generate attractive returns for investors. Over the past month, these stocks returned around 2.5% on average. In comparison, integrated oil and gas majors Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Chevron ( CVX), BP ( BP), ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Total ( TOT) slid 0.4% on average during the same period.

These 10 stocks are expected to gain in the range of 2% to 112% over the next 12 months with a mean upside of around 19%, according to analysts. The stocks are listed according to the percentage of total analyst ratings that are buy ratings, lowest percentage to highest.

The 6-month charts on the following pages show the performance of each stock, along with the performance of the S&P 500 (identified by the abbreviation INX).

No. 10: Kinder Morgan Management

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Kinder Morgan Management ( KMR) is one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in North America with approximately 37,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals.

Last week, KMR said it expects to declare cash distributions of $4.60 per share, a 4.5% increase over its 2010 target of $4.40 per share. "Kinder Morgan's stable and diversified assets continue to grow and increase cash flow, even during weak economic times," said Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder.

The company said it anticipates that in 2011 its business segments will generate more than $3.6 billion in segment earnings before depletion, depreciation and amortization, an increase of more than $340 million from the 2010 forecast.

On Nov. 23, KMR and Copano Energy ( CPNO) entered into an Eagle Ford shale gas services agreement with Chesapeake Energy ( CHK).

Of the six analysts covering the stock, five recommend buying and one recommends holding it. Since testing lows on May 20, the stock has gained around 23.4%.

No. 9: Renesola

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Renesola ( SOL), a stock selling at a deep discount, is a leading manufacturer of solar wafers and solar power products.

For the third quarter of 2010, the company reported record shipments, revenue and profits. Shipments during the quarter reached 324.9 megawatts (MW), up from 258.3MW in the previous quarter and 146.9MW in the third quarter of 2009. Meanwhile, net income surged 66.7% to $60.1 million from $36.1 million in the second quarter. In the year-earlier quarter, the company reported a $10.2 million loss.

The company expects to reduce its wafer processing cost to 18 cents per watt by the end of 2011, from the 25 cents per watt reported for the latest quarter. Analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate Renesola will report earnings per share of 72 cents for 2010 and $1.09 for 2011, a significant turnaround from the losses per share of 42 cents and 43 cents in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 10 recommend buying it and two recommend holding it.

No. 8: Oil States International

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Oil States International ( OIS) is a diversified solutions provider for the global oil and gas industry. The company is a leading manufacturer of capital equipment for deepwater production facilities and subsea pipelines.

OIS reported earnings per share of 88 cents in the third quarter, compared with 53 cents for the year-earlier quarter. The company benefited from an improvement in North American drilling and completion activities as well as increased room capacity and earnings from the oil sands accommodation business. After the earnings announcement, analysts increased 2011 estimates on healthier tubular goods margins, an improved outlook for offshore products and the expectation of superior margins in rental tools.

The company is expected to report earnings per share of $3.23 for 2010 and $4.14 per share for 2011, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. It reported earnings per share of $1.18 in 2009. Of the 13 analysts covering the stock, 11 recommend buying it and two recommend holding it.

Over the past year, the stock has surged 76.1%, while peers have gained only 41.1%. From the recent lows reported on Aug. 26, the stock has gained around 57.5%.

No. 7: Legacy Reserves

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Legacy Reserves ( LGCY) is an independent oil and natural gas company focused on the acquisition and development of properties located in the Permian Basin, Midcontinent and Rocky Mountain regions.

During the third quarter, production was up 3% to 9,804 barrel of equivalent (Boe) per day from 9.516 Boe per day in the second quarter due to acquisitions, operational improvements and increased development drilling, the company said. "Our current backlog of potential acquisitions is sizeable, and we feel confident about our ability to grow through acquisitions," commented Cary D. Brown, chairman and CEO of Legacy Reserves.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings per share of $1.02 for 2010 and $1.46 for 2011, a significant turnaround from the company's loss per share of $2.89 in 2009.

Of the seven analysts covering the stock, six recommend buying it and one advises selling it. Over the past year, the stock has surged 61.1%, while its peers have gained around 54.8%.

No. 6: Linn Energy

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Linn Energy ( LINE) is a natural gas exploration and production company with properties located in the U.S., primarily in the Midcontinent, California and Permian Basin.

Over the past year, the stock has surged 60.4%, while its peers have gained around 56%. The stock offers an attractive dividend yield of 7.14%, ahead of Anadarko Petroleum ( APC), Denbury Resources ( DNR), Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD), Cimarex Energy ( XEC) and Forest Oil ( FST).

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings per share of $1.42 for 2010 and $1.65 for 2011, a significant turnaround from a loss of $2.48 per share in 2009. Of the seven analysts covering the stock, six recommend buying it and one rates it a hold.

No. 5: Schlumberger

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Schlumberger is an oil services company. Its services include including technology, project management and information solutions, as well as advanced acquisition and data processing assessments.

Schlumberger reported a robust third quarter. Earnings per share more than doubled, to $1.38 from 65 cents a year earlier. Based on revenue per rig day progression, the company is holding on to its market share, which will likely grow in the near future, according to analysts at J.P. Morgan. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings per share of $3.26 for 2010 and $3.77 for 2011. EPS was $2.61 in 2009.

During the past 12 months, the company's return on equity stood at 16.0%. In comparison, Baker Hughes ( BHI), National-Oilwell Varco ( NOV), CGG Veritas ( WFT) and Complete Production Services ( CPX) have returns on equity of 5.4%, 11.0%, -11.4% and -7.4%, respectively.

Over the past year, Schlumberger's shares have jumped 37%, while peers have gained around 28%. Since its recent lows on Aug. 26, the stock has gained around 55%. Of the 37 analysts covering the stock, 32 recommend buying it, while five advise holding it.

No. 4: Regency Energy Partners

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Regency Energy Partners ( RGNC) is an independent midstream energy partnership company engaged in the gathering, processing, marketing and transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids.

Regency Energy anticipates to ramp up volumes during the fourth quarter as the fracking capacity constraint issue is near resolution. The company will continue to benefit from higher production from Eagle Ford Shale.

During the past 12 months, the company maintained a profit margin of 13.4%. In comparison, Enbridge ( ENB), Oneok Partners ( OKS), Enterprise Products Partners ( EPD), Plains All American Pipeline ( PAA) and Sunoco Logistics Partners ( SXL) have profit margins of 5.5%, 6.7%, 4.0%, 3.1% and 4.6%, respectively.

In addition, the stock provides an attractive dividend yield of 6.71%. Of the nine analysts covering the stock, eight recommend buying it and one recommends holding it.

No. 3: Energy Transfer Equity

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Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE) is a publicly traded partnership that through its subsidiaries gathers natural gas and operates pipelines and gas processing plants.

During the past 12 months, the company maintained an operating profit margin of 20.5%. In comparison, Enbridge Energy Partners ( EEP), NuStar Energy ( NS), Crosstex Energy ( XTEX) and Inergy ( NRGY) have profit margins of 10.8%, 7.1%, 1.5% and 8.4%, respectively.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, eight recommend buying it and one advises holding it.

No. 2: Canadian Natural Resource

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Canadian Natural Resource ( CNQ) explores, develops and produces natural gas, crude oil and related products. The company's operations are located in Western Canada, the U.K. portion of the North Sea, and offshore West Africa.

Any near-term upside in natural gas prices will likely see Canadian Natural Resource outperforming its peers, owing to its exposure to gas. Over the past year, the stock has surged 29%, while shares of its peers have declined around 4.1%.

The company is set to report earnings per share of $2.91 for 2010 and $2.92 for 2011, in comparison with earnings per share of $1.46 in 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 23 analysts covering the stock, 21 recommend buying it while two recommend holding it.

No. 1: Halliburton

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Halliburton ( HAL) is one of the world's largest providers of energy services and engineering and construction support.

Halliburton's continued building of pressure pumping, drilling and completion equipment during the downturn is paying off, given the extreme tightness in the U.S. land market, according to analysts at J.P. Morgan.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings per share of $1.99 for 2010 and $2.71 for 2011, in comparison with EPS of $1.28 in 2009. Of the 35 analysts covering the stock, 32 recommend buying it, while three advise holding it.

During the past 12 months, Halliburton's return on equity has been 16.0%. In comparison, Weatherford International ( WFT), Transocean ( RIG), Rowan Companies ( RDC) and Superior Energy Services ( SPN) have returns on equity of 0.5%, 12.2%, 8.5% and -2.8%, respectively.

--Written by Karvy Global.

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