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Energy and Tech Will Shine in 2010
01/04/2010 11:25 am EST
Elliott Gue, editor of Personal Finance, says energy and technology stocks will be market leaders this year, and he recommends some stocks in those sectors.
The US economy continues to face long-term headwinds. US government debt is expected to rise to 70% of [gross domestic product] by 2019, [when] more than half the federal deficit will be interest paid on a mounting debt load.
Ultimately, the government will resort to printing money and devaluing the currency. That spells higher inflation and a weaker dollar.
But these are concerns for the next ten years, not the next 12 months. Every sector in the Standard & Poor’s 500 is expected to show earnings and sales growth in 2010. Corporate profits for both financial and nonfinancial firms grew in [the] third quarter [of] 2009. Domestic firms with exposure to foreign markets are recovering even more rapidly.
A year ago, with oil prices in the mid-$30s [a barrel], we projected that this key commodity would reach $100 per barrel in 2010. On cue, global oil demand is growing in the fourth quarter of 2009 for the first time in 18 months.
EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) is regarded as a US-focused natural gas producer. However, management forecasts that roughly half of EOG’s production will be liquids by 2012 as it ramps up activity in crude oil-focused shale plays. The stock is also poised to benefit from a recovery in gas prices in 2010.
US gas production continues to fall, and demand should recover with the economy. Much of EOG’s production will come from the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana and East Texas, one of the cheapest-to-produce fields in the US. Buy EOG Resources under $100. (It closed above $97 Thursday—Editor.)
Technology has among the highest exposure of any S&P 500 economic sector to growth outside the US. In 2009, earnings for the tech sector jumped 7.1% despite the weak economy, and profits should rise a further 19% in 2010.
Despite tech’s ill-deserved reputation as a fast-moving group, tech stocks were actually less volatile than the broader market throughout 2009. With tech, knowing when to sell is just as important as knowing when to buy.
[One of our] favorite plays on technology remains IBM (NYSE: IBM). The engine of IBM’s growth is software and services, not hardware and PCs. Now its most popular offering is “middleware,” or software that allows different systems to communicate across large multinational organizations.
The pace of new contract signings should recover in 2010 as the global economy picks up. And IBM recently boosted its earnings guidance, as it continues to cut costs and control expenses without sacrificing market share. Buy IBM under $135. (It closed below $131 Thursday—Editor.)
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