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These Small Caps Are at the Heart of the New American Energy Boom

By Larsen Kusick, analyst, Phase 1 Investor
Monday, December 5, 2011

If you need any confirmation that North America is experiencing a renaissance in oil and gas production, today's essay is for you...
 
For confirmation, we just look at the earnings and growth rates of some top "oil service" stocks... specifically, the leading "frackers."
 
Regular Growth Stock Wire readers know how new technologies – like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling – have opened up massive amounts of undiscovered oil and gas. This new technology is causing an explosion in oil and gas production.
 
From 1990 to 2010, U.S. natural gas production climbed 25%. And oil production is just beginning to ramp up. As Porter Stansberry pointed out last week...
 
The Bakken field of Montana and North Dakota alone likely holds more than 20 billion barrels. And Eagle Ford likely holds more than 20 billion barrels, too. Likewise, the Marcellus field in western Pennsylvania and New York probably contains more than 20 billion barrels. Each one of these fields will double our country's existing reserves.
 
The companies that sell the "picks and shovels" of this frac boom are seeing their sales and earnings balloon...
 
Company
Market Cap
Revenue Growth
in Latest Quarter
Earnings Growth
in Latest Quarter
RPC Inc. (RES)
$2.9 billion
66%
78%
Trican (TCW.TO)
$2.6 billion
62%
93%
Calfrac (CFW.TO)
$1.2 billion
60%
41%
C&J Energy (CJES)
$1.0 billion
173%
207%
Canyon (FRC.TO)
$770 million
58%
75%
 
These companies all focus on "fracking services." That includes setting up massive water tanks... building storage units full of sand and other "proppants" that help hold the rock open once it's been fractured... and managing the piping and pumps that deliver the materials down into the well. The process includes dozens or even hundreds of people, depending on the size of the job.
 
All these companies are expected to grow profits anywhere between 15% and 40%. And right now, they're cheap. C&J Energy is trading for just eight times trailing earnings. The most expensive on the list – Canyon – is just 13.4 times trailing earnings. These companies are the heart of the New American Energy Boom... but their shares haven't boomed yet.
 
While we can't expect each of these companies to average double-digit earnings growth forever, this trend is likely to last at least until the end of the decade.
 
In short, the "picks and shovels" of the New American Energy Boom are doing a huge and growing business. Many of them are trading for reasonable valuations. That's a recipe for a great growth investment.
 
Good investing,
 
Larsen Kusick




Further Reading:

Frank Curzio gave Growth Stock Wire readers another small-cap play on the natural gas boom. If you followed his advice in September and bought shares on a pullback, you're already up more than 10%. Get the full story here: An Interesting New Energy Bet from an Investing Legend.
 
Larsen recently shared two simple strategies to protect your portfolio from swings in the market. "More than once, these strategies have pushed what might've been a losing position into breakeven or profitable territory," he says. Read more here: A Year-End Strategy for Small-Cap Investors.

In The Daily Crux
Market Notes
Crude oil is the best-performing asset over the past three months... up 16%, while most commodities are in negative territory.
 
Emerging markets play Mercadolibre rockets 74% in just two months.
 
Pipeline stocks continue uptrend... Kinder Morgan, Oneok, and Spectra touch fresh 52-week highs.
 
Retailer boom is going strong... Macy's, Home Depot, and Costco are all trading at multi-year highs.
Market Watch
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
S&P 500 1244.28 0.0% +1.9%
Oil (USO) 39.03 +1.1% +3.3%
Gold (GLD) 169.82 +0.1% +25.6%
Silver (SLV) 31.65 -0.7% +13.3%
U.S. Dollar 78.63 +0.4% -2.5%
Euro 1.34 -0.4% +1.3%
Volatility (^VIX) 27.52 +0.4% +41.9%
Gold Stocks (^HUI) 565.35 -3.3% +0.2%
10-Year Yield 2.04 -3.8% -32.0%

World ETFs
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
USA (SPY) 124.86 -0.1% +3.9%
S. Korea (EWY) 55.59 -0.7% -0.9%
S. Africa (EZA) 62.87 -1.6% -8.2%
Canada (EWC) 27.19 -0.8% -9.1%
Japan (EWJ) 9.33 +0.3% -10.4%
Singapore (EWS) 11.66 -0.3% -12.8%
Taiwan (EWT) 12.34 -1.2% -14.5%
Lat.America (ILF) 43.93 +0.3% -15.0%
Israel (ISL) 13.61 -1.0% -15.9%
China (FXI) 36.40 -0.6% -17.6%
Russia (TRF) 15.82 +0.4% -26.5%
India (IFN) 22.25 +1.1% -32.1%

Sector ETFs
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
Utilities (XLU) 34.75 -1.0% +16.1%
Big Pharma (PPH) 69.26 -0.7% +12.9%
Retail (PMR) 21.49 +1.1% +10.8%
Health Care (IYH) 69.01 -1.2% +9.2%
Consumer Svcs (IYC) 70.98 +0.5% +6.7%
Big Tech (QQQQ) 56.62 -0.3% +6.2%
Real Estate (IYR) 54.67 +0.2% +2.9%
Internet (HHH) 73.14 +0.2% +1.9%
Industrials (IYJ) 63.28 0.0% +1.5%
Defense (PPA) 18.04 -0.3% -1.2%
Software (PSJ) 24.24 -0.5% -1.4%
Transportation (IYT) 88.42 +0.8% -1.5%
Media (PBS) 12.96 +0.8% -3.9%
Telecom (IYZ) 20.97 +0.2% -4.0%
Insurance (PIC) 15.05 +0.2% -4.2%
Construction (PKB) 11.71 -0.4% -4.3%
Biotech (PBE) 19.53 -0.5% -5.1%
Water (PHO) 16.90 -0.4% -6.9%
Oil Service (OIH) 123.75 -0.9% -7.8%
Basic Mat (IYM) 66.50 -0.4% -8.1%
Financials (IYF) 48.42 +1.2% -10.4%
Semis (PSI) 14.11 +1.1% -11.9%
Nanotech (PXN) 6.23 +0.2% -37.4%
Alt. Energy (PBW) 5.51 -0.5% -43.9%

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