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If you were to guess which stocks might be among the fastest growers of 2013, you'd probably name Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) , Google, and Apple. And, of course, you'd likely be correct. Those companies come in at Nos. 1, 3, and 6, respectively, on Goldman Sachs' list of estimated fast growers.
It's unlikely, however, that many of you would pick Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) to be among the 10 fastest growers. And yet, that outstanding energy services company comes in at No. 9. In light of expected energy trends over the next several years, investors might want to take a closer look at Schlumberger.
Goldman's crystal ball
Business Insider recently published the latest equity chart book from Goldman Sachs, which included estimates for the fastest-growing companies in the S&P 500 for 2013, according to revenues (excluding financials and utilities).
2013 Revenue Growth Estimate
|priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN )||21%|
|United Technologies (NYSE: UTX )||14%|
|Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX )||14%|
Source: Business Insider.
Clearly, technology and Internet-related companies are expected to do well. But I was intrigued to see two large, well-established energy companies on the list of top growers -- Anadarko Petroleum and Schlumberger. The current environment, with oil prices firmly above $100 a barrel, seems very favorable to a wide array of energy companies, and I think investors should be paying very close attention to this space.
An expert's outlook for energy
The energy expert Daniel Yergin recently told management consulting firm McKinsey that growing demand from Asia has led to $100 oil and increased volatility in energy markets. He believes that the world will be using a lot more energy in 2030, but that the "mix will still be dominated by oil, natural gas, and coal."
Over the next several years, he sees three big trends in the energy space:
- The Western Hemisphere will continue to develop its own resources and will become less dependent on the Middle East.
- The U.S. and China will increasingly compete for sources of energy.
- Iran's quest for nuclear weapons will cause considerable instability in the Persian Gulf.
Ultimately, Yergin sees increasing energy prices in the near term, which will result in a "great bubbling of innovation across the energy spectrum."
Can you pronounce Schlumberger?
Schlumberger, which provides a wide variety of services to the oil and gas exploration and production industries, is one company that should do very well in the environment envisioned by Yergin. It's far and away the leader in R&D among its competitors, and has been able to deliver solid operating profits and returns on capital in recent years.
My colleague Dave Meier is so impressed with this company that he ranked it No. 3 among his favorite energy stocks. Fool analyst Bryan White also likes the company, since he feels that it is "one of the few companies with the ability to integrate technology, from seismic all the way to well completion, in one integrated package." As demand for oil and gas intensifies in the coming years, a company that makes it easier to extract oil and gas from wells should do very well indeed.
Schlumberger is just one of three companies that our analysts have written about in our latest report, titled "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." To learn more about the other two, have a look at the free report. You can get it for free here.