NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Low oil prices, global monetary conditions and political and regulatory uncertainty mean 2015 will be a challenging year for investors. Here are my expectations on how these items will play out in 2015.
Will Oil Prices Stay Low?
Will oil prices stay low -- below $80 a barrel -- through 2015? Unlikely. Pressure for higher prices can potentially develop in a couple ways.
First, Saudi Arabia's quest to drive out non-OPEC producers that need higher oil prices to be profitable should find some success as oil prices have stayed low for some time. There will also be pressure for higher prices from desperate and oil-dependent countries, such as Russia and Venezuela. The new paradigm of significant North American production, however, makes the path to higher prices difficult to predict. Exploration and production may be an area that will not earn a great deal of investment under such conditions.
Pipeline companies, such as Williams Companies (WMB) and Kinder Morgan (KMI) , that generally employ long-term customer commitments in existing and new projects could be good bets. While such companies have been impacted by the decline in energy stock prices, their earnings outlook is not nearly as sensitive as the stock price movements imply.