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Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM): The Best Natural Gas and Oil Dividend Stock According to Hedge Funds

We recently compiled a list of 13 Best Natural Gas and Oil Dividend Stocks To Buy. Since Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) ranks first on our list, we have analyzed the stock in detail.

Energy stocks can be hot and cold, ranging from periods of strong performance to periods of relative stagnation. These stocks attract attention from investors, particularly when oil prices surge or geopolitical tension escalates, leading to increased volatility and heightened trading activity. This is what we have seen thus far this year. Energy stocks performed well in the first four months of 2024 because of increasing oil prices. However, when oil prices began to decline in May, energy stocks also fell. The energy sector is up by nearly 7% this year so far but experienced a roughly 4% drop in the past month. As of June 7, oil prices reported their third consecutive week of decline. Investors balanced OPEC+ reassurances with recent US jobs data, which reduced the likelihood of the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in the near future. The jobs report suggested that interest rates would remain high for an extended period, which usually reduces optimism in the oil market.

While the performance of energy stocks is influenced by oil prices to some extent, the earnings of oil refiners, storage, and transportation companies are not directly dependent on these prices, according to Rob Haworth, senior investment strategy director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. One of the main reasons for this is that these companies mainly operate on fixed margins or fee-based structures rather than being closely linked with fluctuating prices. Here are some other comments from the analyst:

“Many exploration and production companies have productive oil wells and should be able to generate solid profit margins. Since these companies tend to return capital to shareholders in the form of dividend payouts, their stocks represent an opportunity for income-orientated investors.”


Although energy stocks experienced a rally in the initial months of the year, their behavior seems to align with past patterns, as predicted by analysts. Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital Associates, said that the historical trend observed in energy stocks resembles a boom-and-bust cycle: when oil prices surge, these stocks also rise, but subsequently, a supply response triggers price declines and causes these stocks to fall. That said, US oil companies are showing greater capital discipline, resulting in higher returns and lower valuations compared to the other sectors in the market.

Though oil dominates the energy market as the largest player, natural gas also holds significant importance and plays a crucial role. It serves various purposes, including power generation, heating commercial and residential buildings, and supporting industrial activities. In addition, it is relatively inexpensive compared to other fossil fuels. Its distinctive attributes have led to an expectation of continued growth in its demand. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, global gas demand is set to increase by 2.5% in 2024, equivalent to 100 billion cubic meters (bcm). The report further mentioned that the steep decline in natural gas prices after the record highs of 2022 is contributing to the rebound in gas demand.

Many oil and gas stocks provide attractive yields, making them appealing to investors who prefer high-dividend stocks.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM): The Best Natural Gas and Oil Dividend Stock?
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM): The Best Natural Gas and Oil Dividend Stock?

Computer with charts

Our Methodology:

For this list, we first scanned Insider Monkey’s database of 920 hedge funds, as of the first quarter of 2024. Our focus was on selecting gas and oil companies that are involved in the exploration, production, transportation, or distribution of oil and gas. From this pool of companies, we identified 13 companies that prioritize distributing dividends to their shareholders and ranked them in ascending order of the number of hedge funds having stakes in them at the end of Q1 2024. Why are we interested in the stocks that hedge funds pile into? The reason is simple: our research has shown that we can outperform the market by imitating the top stock picks of the best hedge funds. Our quarterly newsletter’s strategy selects 14 small-cap and large-cap stocks every quarter and has returned 275% since May 2014, beating its benchmark by 150 percentage points. (see more details here).

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 81

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) ranks first on our list of the best dividend stocks from the oil and gas sector. In the first quarter of 2024, the company achieved a quarterly gross production exceeding 600,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Guyana and made the final investment decision for its sixth major development project. Guyana is one of the company’s key exploration areas, where oil production costs are lower, ranging between $25 to $35 per barrel. This cost is comfortably profitable for Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) due to its larger size and scale compared to other oil exploration companies.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is well-positioned to thrive during an eventual downturn in the oil industry. Thanks to several years of profits, the company has strengthened its balance sheet. In Q1 2024, it generated $14.7 billion in operating cash flow and its free cash flow came in at over $10 billion. The company also distributed $3.8 billion to shareholders through dividends. In addition, the company maintains a relatively low level of debt, approximately $40 billion, while boasting a substantial cash flow of $33 billion. With a debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 0.58, debt should not be a significant concern for shareholders.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), one of the best dividend stocks on our list, has been growing its dividends for the past 41 years. It offers a quarterly dividend of $0.95 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.36%, as of June 10.

With a collective stake value of over $5.5 billion, 81 hedge funds in Insider Monkey’s database owned positions in Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), down from 85 in the previous quarter.

Overall, XOM ranks 1st among the best natural gas and oil dividend stocks. You can visit 13 Best Natural Gas and Oil Dividend Stocks To Buy to see other dividend stocks from the natural gas and oil sectors. While we acknowledge the potential of dividend stocks, our conviction lies in the belief that AI stocks hold greater promise for delivering higher returns, and doing so within a shorter timeframe. If you are looking for an AI stock that is as promising as NVIDIA but that trades at less than 5 times its earnings, check out our report about the cheapest AI stock.

Read Next: Michael Burry Is Selling These Stocks and Jim Cramer is Recommending These Stocks.

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.