You can't dip your toe in the media pool lately without hearing about $4-a-gallon gas. If the media buzz isn't enough to get your attention, seeing a $75 tab on the gas pump when you top off your tank will certainly do the trick. For investors in energy stocks the ride up to that $4 has been a smooth one, right back up to the levels not seen since early 2008. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco, all have happy shareholders lately.
Of course, higher energy prices may mean less economic activity. You've heard this (and lived it) before: drive less, lower the thermostat, change vacation plans, and so on. At the industrial level higher energy costs mean higher product prices, lower sales, smaller profits, or some of all three. Thus many analysts are predicting the end of the world, something analysts seem to do with startling regularity (remember Fukushima Daiichi?).
My guess is that the world won't end, and the first quarter earnings reports that we are beginning to see from most public companies will look, for the most part, like the robustly growing earnings you would expect from mid-stage economic recovery. Watch for dividend increases, too.
No end in sight, not yet.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).