Investors can still obtain good returns from master limited partnerships (MLPs), since many of them are still offering attractive dividend yields.
As oil prices have experienced volatility in the past year, it has caused a ripple effect across the energy sector with several energy companies slashing their dividends and could put a damper on MLP dividends as well, said Michael Berger, a former Raymond James energy analyst and founder of Technical420, a Miami-based company that conducts research on cannabis stocks. The best positioned MLPs for 2017 are levered to the price of natural gas and not oil. Natural gas prices have the opportunity to rise as demand has risen from a colder winter and exports have increased.
"Although we anticipate headwinds for partnerships levered to the price of oil, we still incorporate these investments into our strategy," he said. "Partnerships levered to the prices of natural gas are poised to benefit from rising gas prices. We expect partnerships that own natural gas producing properties in basins like the Marcellus and Utica to benefit the most from positive sector trends."
When oil prices and interest rates are low, MLPs are able to provide attractive dividend yields, said K.C. Ma, a CFA and director of the Roland George investments program at Stetson University in Deland, Fla.
"In February 2015 when oil prices hit the low of $20 a barrel, most MLPs were able to pay somewhere around 6% to 7% and some even 10% dividend yields," he said.
Upstream MLPs should benefit the most from rising energy prices because they are focused on the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas and includes companies such as Viper Energy Partners LP (VNOM) , QR Energy (QRE) , and LRR Energy (LRE) .